Missouri Judge Blocks Abortion Law Protecting Women’s Health, Safety

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 28, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Missouri Judge Blocks Abortion Law Protecting Women’s Health, Safety Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 28,

Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates in Missouri won the first battle in their fight to reverse a new state law that protects the health and safety of women considering an abortion. The measure makes sure abortion facilities are follow the same health codes and legitimate medical centers.

The law was scheduled to take effect on Tuesday, but Planned Parenthood argued it would cost millions of dollars to refurbish its abortion centers in Columbia and Kansas City to meet the new requirements.

That would require the abortion business to close the facilities down.

However, U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith, in a temporary ruling that will be decided at a later date, issued an injunction preventing the law from going into effect.

He appeared to buy into arguments Planned Parenthood lawyers made about how the ruling would play out between abortion centers that do just surgical or just non-surgical abortions. Judge Smith also said the law would harm women by reducing the number of abortion centers available to them.

Smith set a date for September 10 for a hearing on Planned Parenthood’s request for a permanent injunction.

Despite the ruling, Smith warned both sides not to read too much into it, according to an AP report.

"The state has a legitimate interest in regulating facilities that perform surgery, even if the facility in question performs surgical abortions," he said. "The court also believes the state may differentiate between facilities that do not primarily perform surgery based on the types of surgery they provide."

Still, he said it was confusing how the state would apply the law to Planned Parenthood’s Kansas City center, which doesn’t do surgical abortions. Instead, it gives women the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug.

Smith said the law should probably apply to the Colombia abortion center.

Missouri already requires abortion facilities to be licensed by the state health department but only one — a Planned Parenthood center in St. Louis — meets the current requirements for licensing. The new law would heighten requirements for all centers.

Under the law, abortion centers would be monitored by the Department of Health and Senior Services as ambulatory surgical clinics, which must meet higher standards for both the facility and staff.

That designation applies to any abortion center where second or third-trimester abortions are done as well as places that do more than five first-trimester abortions a month.