Home News BREAKING: Missouri Poised to be First State Without an Abortion Clinic

BREAKING: Missouri Poised to be First State Without an Abortion Clinic

by Paul Goldberg

The state of Missouri is poised to become the first state in the country without an abortion clinic according to a new report.

The New York Times reported that Planned Parenthood announced on Tuesday that it would most likely be forced to stop providing abortions at its clinic in St. Louis, the last abortion clinic in Missouri, making it the only state in the country with zero abortion clinics.

The ending of abortion care in St. Louis would make clear that while Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States, continues to protect the right to abortion in all 50 states, that is becoming a right in name only in many places.

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From CBS News 

The last remaining abortion clinic in Missouri says it expects to be shut down this week, effectively ending legal abortion in the state.

In a statement Tuesday, Planned Parenthood said Missouri’s health department is “refusing to renew” its annual license to provide abortion in the state. If the license is not renewed by May 31, Missouri would become the first state without a functioning abortion clinic since 1973 when Roe v. Wade was decided.

Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit requesting a restraining order against the state, hoping to restore the license and avoid service disruption. A circuit court judge will hear arguments on Wednesday.

Planned Parenthood would still be able to provide non-abortion health services for women in Missouri.

Planned Parenthood said it plans to sue the state “in order to try to keep serving Missouri women.”

“This is not a drill. This is not a warning. This is a real public health crisis,” said Dr. Leana Wen, president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Lisa Cox, a spokesperson for The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, told CBS News on Tuesday morning via email that Planned Parenthood’s license was “under review,” and did not respond to additional questions.

Representatives for Planned Parenthood told CBS News that the upcoming deadline follows weeks of back-and-forth with state health officials.

On May 20, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services notified Planned Parenthood of three issues that could impact license renewal, according to documents reviewed by CBS News and provided by Planned Parenthood.

On May 22, Planned Parenthood said it would address two of them: adjusting who at the clinic provided the state-mandated counseling and adding an additional pelvic exam for abortion patients.

In 2019, six states — including Missouri — have passed laws banning virtually all abortions. In each case, the laws have not yet been enacted and face court challenges.

But now it appears Missouri would be losing its last clinic as a result of state regulations, not a new law.

Clinics that can’t comply with the regulations may be forced to shut their doors, something that happened to several clinics in Missouri when the state began requiring pelvic exams for medical abortions, a method administered by pill, according to McNicholas.

Although Planned Parenthood, in this year’s negotiations with the state, agreed to administer an extra pelvic exam for surgical abortions, the group wouldn’t budge on pill-administered ones.

“When I say an unnecessary pelvic exam what I mean is that the state is forcing me to put my fingers in somebody’s vagina when it is totally medically irrelevant,” McNicholas said. “That is really bordering on harassment… I am really proud of our clinicians for taking a stand and saying you know we just won’t do that to patients.”

In 2008, Missouri had 5 abortion clinics.

“This a chilling warning for all of us that we are in a public health crisis,” said Dr. Wen in an email to CBS News.

“Today it’s Missouri, tomorrow it could be all of America.”

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