Missouri Planned Parenthood Affiliates File Lawsuit Challenging State’s Abortion Restrictions
For Immediate Release: Nov. 30, 2016
MISSOURI - Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains (PPGP) and Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region (PPSLR) today filed a federal lawsuit challenging two of Missouri’s medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion. These restrictions — hospital admitting privileges and ambulatory surgical center (ASC) requirements — have reduced abortion access in Missouri to just one operating licensed health center offering safe, legal abortion, forcing countless patients to drive hundreds of miles for health care.
Filed in Missouri federal district court, the suit is based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s June Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision, which declared similar abortion restrictions in Texas unconstitutional.
In the complaint, PPGP and PPSLR shared with the court their intent to restore safe, legal abortion to their health centers in Columbia and Kansas City, and to begin providing abortion at their health centers in Springfield and Joplin, where admitting privileges and ASC requirements have prevented patients in those communities from accessing providers.
Both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Medical Association (AMA) vehemently oppose these regulations, stating that abortion is one of the safest medical procedures. Data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show that abortion has a greater than 99 percent safety record. There is no medical basis for these laws. In its June ruling, the Supreme Court agreed with medical experts, stating: “neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes.”
In filing the suit, Laura A. McQuade, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, and Mary M. Kogut, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, issued the following joint statement:
“The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that these politically and ideologically motivated restrictions serve no medical purpose and lead to potentially dangerous and harmful consequences for patients seeking abortion. In its June decision, the Court spoke clearly, finding that admitting privileges and ambulatory surgical center requirements only fulfill one agenda — to keep women from accessing a constitutionally protected medical procedure. The time has come to strike down these unnecessary restrictions in Missouri.
“Planned Parenthood promised our patients then that we would take action to strike these dangerous laws and restore access in Missouri, and today we begin the process of fulfilling that vow.
“Abortion is a core part of Planned Parenthood’s health services and we will not allow any political or special interest groups to stand in the way of our patients’ rights to access sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion. Together, PPGP and PPSLR look forward to lifting these medically unnecessary restrictions and expanding access to the greatest number of Missourians in need of abortion services. The constitutional right to choose safe, legal abortion cannot and will not continue to exist merely as an ideal established nearly 44 years ago in Roe v. Wade. It must continue to be an accessible service to any person, no matter their zip code.”