By Cheryl Sullenger
Jefferson City, MO — A drama is unfolding in Missouri that pits two Planned Parenthood organizations against the pro-life administration of Gov. Eric Greitens, with legal maneuvering akin to a high-stakes game of chess, with well-planned moves and counter moves. But in this case, the victor wins the right to protect life, or take it.
Planned Parenthood Great Plains and Planned Parenthood of Greater St. Louis Region launched a court challenge of a long-standing state law that required abortion abortionists to maintain hospital privileges within 30-miles of the facilities where they conducted abortions.
That law was preventing Planned Parenthood’s expansion from just one facility to four in the communities of Springfield, Joplin, Columbia and Kansas City because neither organization had an abortionist that could qualify for hospital privileges in those communities.
A lower court ruled this summer in favor of Planned Parenthood and barred enforcement of the law. Planned Parenthood rapidly moved to license their existing offices as abortion facilities. They were successful at receiving a license for the Midtown Kansas City facility, which has now offered medication abortions for the past three weeks.
The State appealed that ruling to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which, on September 15, 2017, vacated the lower court’s injunction on the hospital privilege requirement, once again halting Planned Parenthood’s facility licensing process.
Planned Parenthood filed a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court in a desperate effort to revive their abortion expansion plans.
However, in a surprise move, the Eighth Circuit reversed itself on October 2, and have now prevented Missouri from enforcing the law. Having gotten what they wanted, Planned Parenthood withdrew their Supreme Court petition and have pushed forward to license their offices in Joplin, Springfield, and Columbia for abortions.
With lightening quickness, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services countered that same day with a new regulation under authority provided it by the state legislature. That regulation requires licensed abortion facilities to maintain an agreement with an emergency-backup physician who would be on call around the clock.
It may even provide difficulties for the recently licensed Kansas City facility whose current emergency plan is to refer women to an emergency room and hope for the best. Fortunately, pro-life activists report that the facility’s abortion numbers are quite low, with only two or three abortions taking place each week — well off the expected pace of 500 abortions per year.
Without the hospital privilege requirement, the Department of Health’s new regulation is necessary to ensure women experiencing complications from the abortion pill are properly cared for since the abortion pill has a high rate of failure.
“Roughly one out of every twenty women end up in the emergency room or require surgery to complete the failed abortion.” states
Dr. Donna Harrison, President of the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists.*
With this dramatic of a complication rate associated with the Abortion Pill, Planned Parenthood’s lack of concern for women facing these complications is troubling.
“Missouri’s new emergency back-up physician requirement is very much necessary, given Planned Parenthood’s unwillingness to provide women with an acceptable emergency plan. It will also slow Planned Parenthood’s expansion down,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “I’m proud of Missouri’s activists and their officials for pulling out the stops to enforce the law and bring a level of accountability to the Abortion Cartel that will save lives.”
In another recent development, Planned Parenthood has found an ally in the Satanic Temple, which is challenging some of Missouri’s abortion laws, and is attempting to gain an exemption for its members from the state’s 72-hour informed consent refection period, claiming it violates the Satanic Temple’s religious tenets.
The dizzying series of moves and counter moves by those who respect life and those who wish to take it are expected to continue in Missouri into the unforeseeable future.
Read the Health Department Memo concerning the back up physician rule.