Planned Parenthood Closes Missouri Abortion-Referral Clinic

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 15, 2011   |   11:50AM   |   Jefferson City, MO

The Missouri affiliate of the Planned Parenthood abortion business has decided to close an abortion-referral clinic it operated in Jefferson City, the state capital, and it will merge the facility with its Columbia office.

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri announced that the Jefferson City center, which had scaled back to opening just two days a week, will officially close November 30. Women who visited the center before will not be referred to the Columbia location, where surgical abortions are done. The abortion business says the closing of the clinic in Jefferson City was done to cut expenses at a time when Planned Parenthood is consolidating its locations nationwide.

Michelle Trupiano, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and mid-Missouri, told the Columbia newspaper, “We’re a nonprofit, and it was just a matter of utilizing our resources in the most effective way for the community of mid-Missouri.”

Pam Fichter, President of Missouri Right to Life, respond to the closing in comments to LifeNews.

“This is wonderful news,” she said. “Jefferson City is a very pro-life community and while this Planned Parenthood did not provide surgical abortions, we know that their purpose is to give out abortifacient drugs and do referrals for abortions.  We are very glad that Planned Parenthood is no longer a part of the Jefferson City community.”

The Columbia facility is not doing abortions at present because the abortion practitioner who had been working there was called to active duty in the military. Trupiano said the abortion business is actively searching for a replacement to do abortions and expects to resume doing abortions soon.

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri told media outlets about the development in September, saying abortions were done at the Columbia center and are normally done there two to three times a month when a traveling abortion practitioner comes to town. Trupiano also indicated abortions had to be suspended a couple of times in 2010 when the abortion practitioner was not available to come to Columbia.

“Though we regret the unfortunate impact for central Missouri women who want and need abortion care, we’re proud of our physician’s service to our country,”  Peter Brownlie, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, said in a statement. “This is a temporary suspension of abortion services, and we will resume providing those services as soon as possible.”

Until a replacement is found, the abortion business will refer women to other abortion facilities in Missouri and Kansas and the Columbia facility, located at 711 N. Providence Road, will continue providing family planning services.

Sam Lee, the director of Campaign Life Missouri, a pro-life organization, told LifeNews he’s delighted by the news.

“With 40 Days for Life getting ready to start in Columbia and throughout the nation, God is already doing marvelous things by shutting down one of Missouri’s two remaining abortion clinics,” he said. “This particular Planned Parenthood facility has had great difficulty in getting a replacement abortionist, so we are hoping that it is a long time before they are open again for abortion business.”

Lee said the number of abortion centers will continue to decline as fewer physicians are willing to do abortions.

“The weak link in the abortion industry is the lack of abortion doctors,”  Lee said.  “This clinic recently underwent extensive renovation in order to continue doing abortions – as required by a court settlement – but it makes no difference now because no doctor is willing to step forward to do abortions.”

“This is a testament to the perseverance of local grassroots pro-life folks who have kept the pressure on by their frequent prayer vigils and picketing,” said Lee.  “Because of their public witness, no local doctor wants to perform abortions in Columbia.”

In July, Missouri Gov, Jay Nixon, who supports legalized abortion, let a ban on late-term abortions become law without either signing the bill or issuing a veto of it — likely because the legislature approved it on a wide margin. That bill is expected to drive down the number of abortions further.

The ban would limit late-term abortions to instances when the mother’s life is in danger or when continuation of the pregnancy would result in significant health risks to the mother.  The legislation would essentially put an end to post-viability abortions performed for reasons of “mental health” or”emotional distress.” The statute would impose major criminal penalties on doctors who perform illegal late-term abortions.  Doctors who violate the law would face jail time, hefty fines, and the loss of their license to practice medicine.

Joe Ortwerth, the executive director for the Missouri Family Policy Council, which pushed for the pro-life legislation, talked with about it becoming law.

“Healthy viable preborn children in Missouri will no longer be vulnerable to the beastly practice of late-term abortion.  This new law serves notice to doctors who specialize in this barbaric business:  Destroy the lives of innocent viable unborn children, and your days in the operating room are over,” he said.

Pam Fichter, president of Missouri Right to Life, also commented on the decision.

“During the 2011 Legislative Session, the Missouri Senate and House each took up and passed their respective bills banning late-term abortions after 20 weeks gestation except when continuation of the pregnancy will create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant mother,” she explained. “Today, as he did on the 2010 pro-life legislation, Governor Nixon allowed this legislation to become law.  Per the Missouri Constitution, Governor Nixon’s decision to neither veto nor sign HB 213 and SB 65 is a decision to allow these bills to go into effect.”

“Because of Governor Nixon’s decision, Missouri law now protects babies in their last trimester before birth from the slaughter of abortion.  This decision saves lives and protects women from the risks of a late-term abortion.  Missouri Right to Life has worked hard for years to find ways to protect innocent human lives and women in crisis pregnancies,” Fichter added. “While we are pleased to see the steps taken in HB 213 and SB 65, we still have much to do to restore the inalienable right to life recognized by our founders.”