Missouri’s Last Abortion Provider Nears Closing
The state license at a Planned Parenthood in Missouri, the last abortion provider in the state, will expire at midnight on June 1, 2019.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed a law last week criminalizing most abortions after eight weeks. The law has yet to take effect; instead, the dispute between Planned Parenthood and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is over regulatory enforcement, which threatens to shut down abortion services at the clinic.
Gov. Parson said that Missouri health regulators have safety concerns about the clinic. Conversely, Planned Parenthood officials say they’ve done everything necessary to comply with state laws and regulations. They accuse the state of arbitrarily enforcing regulations for political reasons. Neither side has been able to reach an agreement, but Planned Parenthood has filed a lawsuit asking for a restraining order. This would prevent the center from being forced to stop offering the procedure.
Several Missouri organizations are doing what they can to connect patients with clinics outside the state. They help arrange for transportation, childcare, and other needs that may arise when traveling out of state.
Abortion providers in neighboring states, such as Illinois and Kansas, say they are expecting an influx of patients from Missouri in the coming weeks. They are planning accordingly
Abortion-rights opponents have praised Missouri regulators’ scrutiny of the St. Louis clinic, while abortion-rights supporters have criticized the efforts. If the Planned Parenthood in question has its license expire, there will be no other clinics within the state.
This expiration comes amid initiatives brought by several states to restrict access to abortion. Georgia, Alabama, Missouri and Ohio have drafted and submitted bills restricting abortion to 6 weeks, or when a heartbeat can be detected in a fetus. These state legislators hope to bring cases in front of the Supreme Court to revisit Roe v. Wade.