Planned Parenthood has filed a federal lawsuit that is meant to end some of Missouri’s abortion requirements and restore abortion services in Columbia, Kansas City, Joplin and Springfield. Planned Parenthood affiliates in North Carolina and Alaska filed similar lawsuits Wednesday. Great Plains President and CEO Laura McQuade says the organization is challenging Missouri’s requirements for its doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and abortion clinics to follow requirements for surgical centers.

Laura McQuade

Laura McQuade

Planned Parenthood is suing Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services director Peter Lyskowski, Attorney General Chris Koster, and prosecutors in Boone, Jackson, Greene and Jasper counties. The defendants have 21 days to respond to the lawsuit.

McQuade is confident the organization will win its legal battle.

“Admitting privileges and ambulatory surgical center restrictions are two of the most common categories of restrictions and actually provide some of the highest barriers to care across the country,” says McQuade.

St. Louis President and CEO Mary Kogut says a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June struck down similar laws in Texas.

“On the surface, the legal issues seem to be simple in that they mirror Texas laws but the factual information is very complicated and very complex. We’ve got two affiliates. We’ve got multiple centers and there are multiple restrictions. So we wanted to ensure we were absolutely factual and accurate in our approach,” says Kogut.

McQuade and Kogut say abortion providers are available and ready to begin services immediately, if they win their court challenge.

Kogut says due to medically unnecessary and politically motivated state restrictions, the St. Louis Planned Parenthood facility is the only abortion clinic in Missouri. She says the clinic serves more than 40,000 people annually, with one of the core services being abortion.

Abortion opponents, including Susan Klein with Missouri Right to Life, say Texas’ laws are different from Missouri’s laws. She’s confident the current requirements will stand.

“There was an agreement made between Planned Parenthood and the state in 2010 that they would actually follow the ambulatory surgical center regulations but as far as widening the doors at the clinics and things like that, some clinics that actually had licenses at that time would be exempt,” says Klein. “We have not had any difficulties. Women are getting better health care because of those two laws. I just find it very surprising that a supposed health care center would not want the physician to have hospital privileges in the same town.”

Klein says before these laws were enacted in 2005, some physicians had hospital admitting privileges out of the U.S.

“Wherever they open an abortion clinic, they need to have hospital privileges and they need to have good clean quality medical equipment, updated drugs and qualified medical personnel. Those are just common sense healthcare provisions that we require on other services and we should require the same things for an abortion facility,” says Klein.

She tells Missourinet that her organization will focus on legislation for the 2017 session that includes inspections for abortion clinics.

State Representative Diane Franklin (R-Camdenton) tells Missourinet that she plans to pre-file legislation for next session that would track fetal remains from abortions. She offered a similar measure during this year’s session.