By Marisa Iati | Washington Post
Missouri could become the first state without a clinic that performs abortions, Planned Parenthood officials warned Tuesday, saying they are suing the state to allow their clinic in St. Louis to continue offering the procedure.
Planned Parenthood officials said the state’s health department is threatening not to renew the organization’s license to offer abortions in St. Louis, currently the only place in Missouri that provides the procedure.
The license expires Friday, and if it isn’t renewed, Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen said, “this will be the first time since 1974 that safe, legal abortion care will be inaccessible to people in an entire state.” Planned Parenthood said the closure of the St. Louis clinic would leave “more than a million people in a situation we haven’t seen since Roe v. Wade.”
Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said her organization would sue to protect access to abortion in the state.
“What is happening in Missouri shows that politicians don’t have to outlaw abortion to push it out of reach entirely,” she said in a statement.
Republican Gov. Mike Parson signed a bill last week that criminalizes abortion at eight weeks of pregnancy, following a wave of similar laws across the country.
Parson had said previously that the bill provided Missouri “the opportunity to be one of the strongest pro-life states in the country.”
As The Washington Post’s Lindsey Bever previously reported:
“The vote came just hours before the state’s legislative session was set to end, and was preceded by an emotional debate in the House, during which some lawmakers recounted their own experiences with abortion,” according to the Post report. “Aside from some outbursts from spectators in the gallery and quiet sobbing at times that appeared to come from the House floor, the chamber was largely silent during the arguments about the bill.
“Supporters said the bill would protect unborn children’s lives, but opponents argued it would also put the mothers’ lives at risk, forcing them to either suffer or go underground to seek illegal and unsafe procedures,” the report continued.
Parson signed the abortion ban into law May 24.
The Washington Post’s Emily Wax-Thibodeaux contributed to this report.
Missouri could become first state with no abortion clinic