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Planned Parenthood Great Plains Moves Forward Following Arson at Columbia Health Center

Last week, federal authorities arrested a Columbia man in connection with an arson attack at the Planned Parenthood Great Plains Columbia health center. The FBI investigated the fire as a federal civil rights violation under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. The incident took place early in the morning and caused no injuries, but damage to the facility forced a weeklong closure for repairs. The Columbia health center reopened on Feb. 18 and resumed offering a range of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, including contraception, cancer screenings, transgender care and more.

In a release, Planned Parenthood Great Plains President and CEO Dr. Brandon J. Hill said, “Let this send a clear message: Blocking access to essential health care is against the law, whether it takes the form of violence and vandalism or threats against our patients, our providers, or our supporters. With sexual and reproductive health care under attack in Missouri, our mission is more important than ever before. Health care is a human right, and we will not stop fighting for the rights of our patients. Our doors are open in Columbia, and we remain committed to serving this community.”

“Abortion is incredibly safe, yet politicians continue to pursue restrictions that defy medical experts and make abortion as inaccessible as possible,” Hill said. “Anti-abortion legislators are racing to challenge Roe v. Wade at the U.S. Supreme Court. At a time when our state’s maternal mortality rate is increasing, we should be doing everything we can to increase access to reproductive health care. These attacks on health care aren’t just bad politics — they’re dangerous.”

MoLeg Recap: Even More Abortion Bans

The Senate Committee on Health and Pensions held a hearing on three. more. abortion. bans.

Senate Bill 139 bans abortion as early as six weeks — which is before many people even know they are pregnant. Senate Bill 279 bans abortion later in pregnancy, and SB 345 outright criminalizes doctors, making abortion a felony.

These bills differ in their details, but they share a common goal: restricting access to safe, legal abortion and sparking a legal challenge that puts Missouri at the front of the race to overturn Roe v. Wade at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Not one of these extreme, medically unnecessary bills does anything to improve the health and safety of Missouri women — and expert witnesses were on hand to speak the truth to committee members. Three Missourians with personal experience with abortion testified along with five physicians about the damaging real-life impact of abortion bans on Missouri families. In addition, people of faith testified against legislating one faith over others.

At a time when our state’s maternal mortality rate is rising — and women of color are four times likelier to die — it is glaring that our lawmakers continue to obsess about banning safe, legal abortion.

The decision to end a pregnancy is deeply personal. A pregnant person makes that decision in consultation with their family, their doctor, and their faith — not politicians. Take action today and tell your state senator to stop the bans!

Recap: TASH Lobby Day

Twenty-seven high school students from Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri's Teen Advocates for Sexual Health (TASH) Program traveled to Jefferson City for the second annual all-teen lobby day. After months of planning, eight student leaders trained their peers and independently led small groups to lobby more than 40 lawmakers on three priorities:

  • Yes on HB 747: Lowers the sales tax on period products and diapers
  • Yes on HB 516: The Youth Mental Health Preservation Act bans LGBTQ conversion therapy
  • No on HB 126: The nation’s most extreme abortion bill, including five bans on safe, legal abortion

See our bill summary for more information on this legislation.

In addition to visiting legislators’ offices, TASH students also testified at legislative committee hearings! Three students submitted written testimony and three more testified in person before the House Special Committee on Aging in support of lowering the sales tax on tampons, pads, and diapers. TASH student Kali Jones was interviewed by The Missourian after she testified, sharing her own experience with budgeting for basic necessities as a teen who lives on her own. Teen leadership reached every corner of the Capitol with another three students submitting written testimony to a Senate committee in opposition to three bills that would ban access to safe, legal abortion in Missouri.

We have two more lobby days this year! Mark your calendars and plan to join us in Jefferson City on March 26 and May 8!


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