Missouri Planned Parenthood Sues to Stop Right to Know Law

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 5, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Missouri Planned Parenthood Sues to Stop Right to Know Law

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
October 5, 2003

Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — Planned Parenthood has sued to overturn a Missouri state law that requires abortion facilities to provide women considering abortion with information about its risks and alternatives.

The move has pro-life groups saying the abortion business wants to keep women in the dark about other choices and the dangers associated with abortion.

On Friday, Planned Parenthood officials asked a judge for an injunction to block the pro-life law, which has been credited with reducing abortions by as much as 30 percent, from going into effect. The request is a part of a lawsuit the abortion business has filed in federal court to declare the law unconstitutional.

“We will request the injunction at the same time the lawsuit will be filed," said Paula Gianino, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region.

Senior U.S. District Judge Scott Wright scheduled a conference call hearing Wednesday on whether to grant a preliminary injunction.

Write is scheduled to decide on the injunction immediately following the hearing and Sam Lee of the pro-life group Campaign Life Missouri believes Wright will support it.

"We are confident that the courts will ultimately uphold Missouri’s 24-hour waiting period law," Lee told LifeNews.com. "But it won’t surprise us if Judge Wright delays enforcement pending ultimate resolution, including appeals if necessary."

Lee noted that Wright has heard previous abortion lawsuits, and has generally struck down pro-life laws passed by the Missouri General Assembly. However, federal courts — and even the Supreme Court — have overturned his decisions.

Pam Manning, president of Missouri Right to Life, said the law was drafted to comply with Supreme Court requirements and it is constitutional.

State Rep. Susan C. Phillips (R) told the Columbia (Mo.) Missoulian, "This [law] is just good common sense. It gives women and their families time to digest the medical information."

Phillips said she believes the new law will help women, saying women now sometimes don’t see the abortion practitioner until they are sedated and on their way to having an abortion.

Comprehensive Health and Reproductive Health, affiliates of Planned Parenthood, are the plaintiffs in the case.

State legislators, in early September, overturned a veto of the bill by pro-abortion Gov. Bob Holden.

The information must be provided to women at least 24 hours prior to performing the abortion.

The law is set to take effect on October 11.