Missouri’s only abortion clinic could be shut down this week, and it’s not because of the state’s new law, it’s because Planned Parenthood refuses to comply with the state’s regulations, and now they say they’ll sue.
The St. Louis clinic says the health department is “refusing to renew” its license, and if it’s not done by Friday (5/31)- Missouri would be on the only state without an abortion clinic since 1973 when Roe v. Wade was decided.
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.
The upcoming deadline follows weeks of back-and-forth between Planned Parenthood and state health officials.
In 2019, six states — including Missouri — passed laws banning most abortions that will be enacted later this year.
Missouri would be losing its last clinic as a result of state regulations, not a new law.
In 2008, Missouri had 5 abortion clinics.
Clinics that didn’t comply with the regulations were forced to shut their doors, such as the required pelvic exam for oral abortions, a method administered by pill.
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,” Dr. Colleen McNicholas, a Planned Parenthood physician in St. Louis 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.”