Planned Parenthood Sues to Stop Missouri Law Requiring It to Protect Women’s Health

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Nov 30, 2016   |   7:24PM   |   Jefferson City, MO

Encouraged by a win at the U.S. Supreme Court in June, abortion activists filed a lawsuit on Wednesday that challenges two Missouri abortion laws.

The lawsuit is one of three that Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Justice filed Wednesday against laws in Missouri, Alaska and North Carolina.

The Missouri lawsuit claims that two state laws, one requiring abortion facilities to meet the same health and safety standards that other outpatient surgical centers meet, and another requiring abortion practitioners to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, are unconstitutional. The abortion groups argue that the laws have “severely restricted access” to abortion and deprived some women of the “right” to abort their unborn children.

The Kansas City Star reports the Planned Parenthood affiliates in Missouri say in the lawsuit that the state laws are “medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion.” The lawsuit mentioned a similar Texas law that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down in June.

“The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that these politically and ideologically motivated restrictions serve no medical purpose and lead to potentially dangerous and harmful consequences for patients seeking abortion,” Laura McQuade and Mary Kogut, CEOs of the two Planned Parenthood abortion affiliates in Missouri said in a joint statement.

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The two Missouri laws resulted in just one remaining abortion practice in the state – the Planned Parenthood in St. Louis. A Columbia Planned Parenthood lost its license to do abortions in July because its abortionist did not have hospital admitting privileges.

According to the Kansas newspaper, the Columbia Planned Parenthood will begin doing abortions again if a court strikes down the laws. Another Planned Parenthood in Springfield also could begin doing abortions if the courts side with abortion activists in their new lawsuit, the News-Leader reports.

A Missouri Planned Parenthood spokesperson told the newspaper that they have abortionists “at the ready” for Springfield if the law is overturned.

Cheryl Sullenger, senior vice president with Operation Rescue, told reporters that the admitting privileges law protects women from “fly-by-night abortionists” who cannot care for their patients in cases of injury.

Abortion activists claim the regulations are unnecessary. In the lawsuit, they claim that abortions are “extremely safe” and do not need to be regulated in the same ways as other outpatient surgical procedures.

The lawsuit is not wholly unexpected. Abortion activists vowed to continue legal action after the U.S. Supreme Court sided with them in overturning a Texas abortion law in June. The Texas law arguably was responsible for saving the lives of tens of thousands of unborn babies by closing abortion clinics that were unable to meet the kinds of medical and safety standards that legitimate medical centers meet.

The U.S. is one of just a handful of countries that allows abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy, and abortion activists are desperately trying to keep it that way. Despite what abortion activists claim, the laws that prohibit later-term abortions and those that require abortion facilities to meet basic health and safety standards are backed by strong scientific evidence and concerns about the well-being of women and children.