Missouri regulators block access to medication abortion in Columbia, draw another lawsuit
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For Immediate Release: Oct. 30, 2017
Planned Parenthood affiliates sue to block unconstitutional regulations
ST. LOUIS – Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has blocked expansion of medication abortion services in the state through regulations implementing Senate Bill 5, according to a suit filed by two Planned Parenthood affiliates. The state agency has blocked medication abortion at a Planned Parenthood health center in Columbia, also calling into question stalled efforts to obtain a license in Springfield and Joplin.
In a new set of regulations, DHSS is mandating “complication plans” in which the department requires providers of medication abortion to contract with a board-certified, licensed ob-gyn with admitting privileges at a local hospital to be on call. The U.S. District Court (Judge Sachs) earlier this year blocked Missouri’s hospital privilege requirements after the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016 declared nearly identical medically unnecessary Texas restrictions to be unconstitutional.
“Missouri continues to take extraordinary steps to limit access to abortion without regard to the safety of women in our state.” said Mary M. Kogut, president and CEO of RHS. “We will continue to fight to ensure our patients have access to the health care they need.”
The state’s complication plan requirements have been implemented despite overwhelming medical evidence about the safety of abortion. The complaint, filed today by Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region (RHS) and Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains (PPGP), seeks an injunction from the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Missouri.
“I remain very concerned that the state will attempt to block licensure in Springfield and Joplin in defiance of the Judge Sachs’ order,” Kogut added. “This will force women to drive hundreds of miles and spend time away from their family, or forego care altogether.” The Planned Parenthood health center in Springfield is currently awaiting its license after an October 10-11 inspection which followed multiple state delays. The Planned Parenthood health center in Joplin has not yet been inspected.
This is the second suit filed against Missouri related to Senate Bill 5 since it passed in July 2017. Planned Parenthood affiliates in Missouri previously challenged the constitutionality of a different provision of the law in state court. That case is ongoing.