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Last Missouri Abortion Clinic Could Shut Down

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter

Planned Parenthood announced Tuesday that the last remaining abortion clinic in Missouri could shut down this week.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region (RHS) announced in a press release that the state of Missouri will not have a center that provides abortions within 72 hours.

“BREAKING,” Planned Parenthood said in the headline of their press release, “In 72 Hours, Missouri Will No Longer Have a Health Center That Provides Abortion.”

Planned Parenthood said recent abortion legislation is to blame for this news, saying that the state health department will block services at the last open abortion clinic in Missouri following Republican Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s signing of H.B. 126.

“The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is refusing to renew Planned Parenthood’s license to provide abortion in the state — shutting down the last remaining health center’s ability to provide abortion unless doctors consent to inappropriate interrogation, bordering on harassment,” the press release revealed.

Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act, H.B. 126 passed the GOP-led House May 17 with a vote of 110-44 in favor of the bill. The bill allows for abortions after eight weeks only in case of medical emergency and does not make exceptions for rape or incest. Doctors who defy the bill and perform abortions after eight weeks could face up to 15 years in prison. (RELATED: Missouri House Bill Bans Abortions After 8 Weeks)

The Missouri bill also would prevent minors from obtaining an abortion without written parental consent as well as prevent doctors from performing abortions if they know the mother wants an abortion because her unborn child has Down syndrome.

“This is not a drill. This is not a warning. This is a real public health crisis,” said Dr. Leana Wen, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood in a statement. “This week, Missouri would be the first state in the country to go dark—without a health center that provides safe, legal abortion care. More than a million women of reproductive age in Missouri will no longer have access to a health center in the state they live in that provides abortion care.”

Wen said that this closure is a direct result of the recent abortion legislation and credited the potential closure to President Donald Trump, Brett Kavanaugh, and others.  She also said that Planned Parenthood will file a lawsuit if the clinic does indeed close.

Missouri, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama and Ohio enacted restrictive abortion legislation in the past year. (RELATED: These Are The States That Have Passed Pro-Life Abortion Bills This Year)

Both Georgia and Alabama have passed restrictive abortion legislation in 2019. Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a “fetal heartbeat bill” in March that will go into effect Jan. 1, 2020, banning most abortions in Georgia after a fetal heartbeat is detected. The bill makes exceptions in cases of rape and incest and when the mother’s health is at risk, but only if the mother first files a police report.

Republican Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey also signed H.B. 314 into law May 15. The Alabama law, which is set to take effect in six months, is the most restrictive abortion law in the United States and is a near-total ban on abortions. The law makes no exceptions for cases of rape or incest but would make an exception if the mother’s health was in serious danger.

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