by Steven Ertelt
September 22, 2005
Kansas CIty, MO (LifeNews.com) — A Jackson County judge held a hearing on Wednesday on a new Missouri abortion law that Planned Parenthood says could hurt it financially. The law allows parents to sue abortion businesses who help teenagers get abortions without their consent and requires abortion practitioners to have privileges at a local hospital in cases of botched abortions.
Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri has filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the law and prevent its enforcement during the duration of the suit.
Earlier this week, U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey granted a Springfield abortion businesses’ request for a temporary restraining order. However, Jackson County Circuit Judge Charles Atwell said he didn’t have enough information to issue one in the Planned Parenthood case.
Judge Atwell said he would try to issue a ruling on the matter by the end of next week.
According to an Associated Press report, Assistant Attorney General John Roodhouse told Atwell threat a restraining order isn’t needed because "plaintiffs in this case would [not] be immediately harmed."
Eve Gartner, a staff attorney for Planned Parenthood, said women seeking abortions would be harmed because the law could delay when they have an abortion, making it more dangerous.
She also argued that even talking to teenagers about an abortion could put the abortion centers at risk of a potential lawsuit, AP reported.
"This is what we do every hour, every day," Gartner said. "Liability, especially at a jury trial, could literally put us out of business."
Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri has 13 centers and eight in Missouri.
Springfield Healthcare Center, an abortion facility, said in its lawsuit that the new law would force it to close.
One provision in the bill, signed by Governor Matt Blunt last week, requires abortion practitioners to have admitting privileges at a hospital within a 30 mile radius of the abortion business.
The abortion practitioner at Springfield Healthcare Center is not allowed to practice medicine at any local hospital. That would jeopardize the lives of women who are injured by an abortion and need emergency medical attention that the abortion facility can’t provide.
Laughrey’s decision blocks the law from going into effect until it can move through the court process.
She claimed the law "threatens an immediate chilling effect on all abortion counseling within Missouri and nearby states until the scope of the provision can be determined."
Pro-life state Sen. John Loudon (R), who sponsored the bill, told the St. Louis Post Dispatch the ruling is "classic judicial activism," but he said he’s confident it will ultimately stand up in courts.
Blunt spokesperson Jessica Robinson added, "We stand by this good pro-life law that will reduce the number of abortions in our state and look forward to debating its merits before the court."