Planned Parenthood expansion efforts face opposition after court ruling

  

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Following an injunction made by Judge Howard Sachs of the U.S. District Court, a Planned Parenthood clinic in Kansas City will be able to provide abortion services beginning on September 18. Sachs’ decision comes after the U.S. Supreme Court found similar laws in Texas – which banned certain women’s health clinics from providing abortion in Texas – to be unconstitutional and medically unnecessary.

The court ruling allows for the health care facilities only to provide non-surgical, medicine-induced abortions.

Since Planned Parenthood requested the injunction in December, the health and reproductive center has put in applications for business licenses in Springfield, Joplin, and Columbia. Since 2015, Missouri has been classified as one abortion provider state, with only the facility in St. Louis.

Planned Parenthood Great Plains (PPGP) President and CEO Aaron Samulcek calls the expansion, “a full-circle moment,” writing in a press release yesterday saying, “We promised Missourians in 2015 that extreme ideologues who worked so hard to chip away at our patients’ constitutional rights, would not get the last word. PPGP is proud to have the final say – that access to safe, legal abortion is more accessible today than it was yesterday and we will continue to work towards a tomorrow where every patient has the ability to make the best choice for their future.”

Missouri Right to Life (MRL) has responded to Planned Parenthood’s efforts to expand access to their facilities, with MRL President Steve Rupp calling it “Judicial Activism.” Rupp claims that Sachs was ruling out of a personal opinion regarding abortion laws.

“The blame for this lies at the feet of activist, pro-abortion judges appointed by past administrations…Today we are reaping the consequences to past elections of pro-abortion leaders and appointments of pro-abortion judges. Judge Sachs ruled that our Director of the Department of Health and Senior Services issue new abortion clinic licenses or be held in contempt of court,” he wrote in a MRL press release.

Under Missouri Law, all doctors at abortion providing facilities must have admitting privileges. Additionally, facilities must meet the same standards of Outpatient Surgery medical centers. In the second special session, the Missouri General Assembly also passed SB 5, which mandated that clinics must have a medical emergency plan, increase inspection of facilities, and grant the Missouri Attorney General a greater authority to enforce abortion laws.

Rupp praised the Missouri Legislature for passing laws in the past year saying, “While SB 5 passed in the recent Special Session could not stop these abortion clinics from opening, the provisions of SB 5 will serve to give more oversight and regulation on any abortion clinic in Missouri.” He also praised the leaders of the executive branches in both the state and federal governments for their commitment to anti-abortion measures.

Despite MRL’s efforts, Planned Parenthood hopes to receive another abortion license from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, permitting them to open another clinic in Columbia. Planned Parenthood expects to receive their Columbia permit “in the coming days.”

Michael Layer is a reporter for the Missouri Times and the Missouri Times Magazine. He joined the Missouri Times in August 2017 after graduating from Goucher College the previous May. To contact Michael, email michael@themissouritimes.com or follow him on Twitter @_MichaelLayer