Missouri Planned Parenthood Wants State Court to Weigh Abortion Law
by Steven Ertelt
October 25, 2007
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — A federal judge in Missouri has already issued an injunction preventing state officials from enforcing a new abortion law designed to protect the health and safety of women. Now, Planned Parenthood is filing a lawsuit in state courts as well to make sure it doesn’t have to follow the new rules.
The statute in question makes sure abortion centers meet the same health requirements as legitimate medical facilities.
It makes abortion centers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars or more on remodeling their facilities to ensure women are better protected in cases when abortions are botched and emergency medical care is necessary.
Abortion advocates sued in federal court, saying they would have to close down because of the cost of the changes.
The new suit asks a Jackson County judge to affirm that the new regulations don’t apply to its abortion centers that give women the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug instead of performing surgical abortions.
In the federal ruling, U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith said he wanted to craft a compromise with abortion facilities.
Judge Smith issued an injunction and pleased the state by saying he didn’t think abortion businesses could prove the new law is unconstitutional.
However, abortion advocates were happy Judge Smith said the so-called right to abortion under Roe v. Wade would be infringed if the state enforced the law in the strongest manner possible.
Smith noted the state health department is willing to provide some abortion centers with waivers allowing them to opt out of specific portions of the new law and he urged abortion facilities to apply for the waivers.
The judge also granted a partial victory to abortion advocates by ruling that the law would likely be unconstitutional if it applied to centers that dispense the abortion drug but don’t do surgical abortions.
That is what Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri Inc. is requesting in the second lawsuit.
Its Kansas City abortion center only has the abortion drug while its Columbia abortion facility does both medical and surgical abortions.
"We think that the statute is problematic from both a state and federal perspective, and so we’re covering all bases," Peter Brownlie, Planned Parenthood’s president and chief executive officer, told the Associated Press.
But Jane Drummond, the director of the state Department of Health and Senior Services, told AP she thinks the second lawsuit is a stalling tactic meant to delay the enforcement of the law — an accusation Brownlie denied.