Missouri Abortion Businesses Object to Giving Women Factual Information
by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
June 3, 2004
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — On Tuesday Missouri Planned Parenthood affiliates objected to following a new law that requires them to provide factual information to women about abortion’s risks and alternatives to prior to performing one.
The abortion businesses asked the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to allow their case against the Woman’s Right to Know law to return to a federal district court, where a temporary restraining order blocking the law for seven months originated.
Last week, the appeals court threw out the restraining order, which had remained in place even though Planned Parenthood wanted to re-file their suit against the law in state court.
As a result of the law taking immediate effect, one Planned Parenthood business in St. Louis had to turn away 40 women seeking abortions, as they were not able to receive the information 24 hours before the abortion, as required.
"Planned Parenthood’s maneuver to delay the lawsuit it filed against the Woman’s Right to Know Law backfired in their faces when the Court of Appeals vacated the injunction issued by the District Judge that kept the law from being enforced," Patty Skain, executive director of Missouri Right to Life told LifeNews.com.
"Now Planned Parenthood wants the Court of Appeals to return the case to the District Judge, so it has filed a motion to dismiss the appeal. It should not be long before the Court of Appeals rules on this latest motion," Skain added.
Similar laws in other states have reduced abortions by as much as one-third.
U.S. District Judge Scott O. Wright had issued the restraining order October 10, the day before the law was to be enforced, in response to a suit filed by Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri and Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region.
The original hearing in the case was scheduled in January, then rescheduled for Tuesday, May 25 to give the abortion advocates more time to prepare their case.
That hearing was also canceled this week as Planned Parenthood was shifting the case to a state court, and Judge Wright allowed the abortion business 45 days to file a new suit, but left the restraining order intact.
Pro-abortion Attorney General Jay Nixon, who is defending the pro-life law for the state, appealed Wright’s decision to keep the federal restraining order in place while the state lawsuit is being filed, and the appeals court readily agreed.
The legislation, which took immediate effect, also requires abortion practitioners to have at least $500,000 in malpractice insurance.
The Missouri legislature overrode Governor Bob Holden’s veto in September on the legislation, a fact that supporters of the bill shows strong backing for the measure.
"Anytime you override a veto, that’s very significant support. So I believe this will resound very well with the people of Missouri," said Rep. Susan Phillips (R-Kansas City), who sponsored the bill.
Planned Parenthood has been arguing that the criminal penalty section of the bill is too broad and says abortion practitioners could be fined and jailed for each abortion done in violation.
Pam Manning, president of Missouri Right to Life, said the law was drafted to comply with Supreme Court requirements and it is constitutional.
Missouri’s 1999 ban on partial-birth abortion is still on hold Wright’s court after a similar suit was brought against that law five years ago.