Planned Parenthood is ramping up efforts to provide abortions in three cities after a court decision Monday.
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the state of Missouri’s stay motion that would have blocked the organization from offering abortions in Springfield, Columbia and Joplin.
Planned Parenthood of St. Louis and Southwest Missouri Region President/CEO Mary Kogut said “medication abortions” could be available in Springfield fairly quickly. “In Springfield, we have our inspections scheduled already for next week so the department of health will be coming to our Springfield center to inspect us,” said Kogut. “We plan to be absolutely ready.”
Licensing of abortion clinics is handled by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Abortions are currently only available in Kansas City and St. Louis.
Kogut says the expansion of services to the other cities will better serve the health needs of women. “It’s a very good thing for the women of Missouri who need to have access to quality expert healthcare close to where they live and in their own communities.”
Planned Parenthood has been actively seeking to expand its abortion services in Missouri since a federal district judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking two state laws in April.
The judge said the statutes, which called for abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and required abortion clinics to follow hospital-like standards for outpatient care, posed imminent harm on women’s access to abortions. His decision came after the U.S. Supreme Court found in 2016 that similar requirements in Texas were unconstitutional.
Missouri had sought a stay on the federal district judge’s preliminary injunction. The 8th Circuit Court complied by issuing a stay on September 15th, which it later clarified was only temporary. It then lifted the stay Monday, denying the state’s motion and allowing Planned Parenthood to move forward in obtaining licenses to provide abortions in the three cities.
Kogut with Planned Parenthood of St. Louis and Southwest Missouri says services in Springfield will start with medication only abortions before there’s any attempt to expand operations.
“We hope at some point to also provide surgical care in our Springfield facility, but right now we’re starting with providing expert quality medication abortion for the women in the community of Springfield and also surrounding areas,” said Kogut.
Planned Parenthood of St. Louis and Southwest Missouri operates facilities in Springfield and Joplin. Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains in Kansas City will seek to have its clinic in Columbia licensed for abortions.
Missouri Right to Life issued a statement following the 8th Circuit’s decision, saying the five-judge panel’s action “basically says that abortion facilities don’t have to abide by common sense medical safety practices and that the physicians who fly in from all over the U.S. or other countries do not have to have hospital privileges in our state.”
Read Missouri Right to Life’s full statement released Tuesday here.
Brea Douglas of Missourinet TV partner KOLR in Springfield contributed to this report.