Panic is emerging as the last abortion clinic in Missouri is ready to close and it is driving women across the state border to Illinois – where legislators have recently moved in the opposite direction by taking other steps to increase access to abortion .
& # 39; People are insane because they don't understand what's going on & # 39 ;, says Erin King, an OB-GYN and the executive director of Hope Clinic for Women in Granite City, Illinois, just 10 minutes from downtown St Louis.
& # 39; They are panicking. You can hear their stress level, & she said The Huffington Post.
Under penalty of a last-minute intervention by a judge, Hope Clinic sees a huge revival of new patients coming from the state – and Missouri women are good for more than half of their patients.
A panic arises because the last abortion clinic in Missouri is ready to close and it drives women across the state border to Illinois
& # 39; It is clear that our first care is the patients, & # 39; said King. & # 39; We are looking for additional staff, extending our clinic hours and looking at our schedule to see what we can do. & # 39;
The clinic appealed to Missouri women before the planned clinic in St. Louis was threatened with closure by government officials who said the facility had endangered patient safety.
Illinois does not have the same level of expensive and time-consuming prescriptions as Missouri, which requires women seeking abortions to wait 72 hours before they can undergo the procedure and undergo a pelvic examination even if a drug abortion is performed.
And restrictions will become stricter now that Governor of Missouri, Mike Parson, has signed a bill prohibiting abortion in eight weeks of pregnancy, with no exception for rape or incest.
However, the last abortion clinic in Missouri is on the verge of closure, after government officials said they would not renew the clinic's license due to violations of government regulations.
If the permit was not renewed, Planned Parenthood officials said Missouri would become the first state without a functioning abortion clinic since the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision to legalize abortion.
A protest action on the recent restrictive abortion legislation on May 21, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri
Planned Parenthood has sued the state and sought an intervention to keep its doors open.
Circuit judge Michael Stelzer heard an hour on Thursday with arguments about the request of Planned Parenthood to introduce a temporary restraining order to prohibit the state from letting the permission of the St. Louis clinic expire. It is not clear when Stelzer will decide.
The license expires at midnight.
The Department of Health and Senior Services in Missouri has expressed concern about, among other things, patient health and violations of state laws and regulations.
Planned Parenthood officials say that Missouri arms the licensing process & # 39 ;.
The health service said inspections in March revealed deficiencies. The agency cited & # 39; at least one incident that seriously compromised patient safety & # 39 ;.
It also quoted what it called & # 39; failed surgical abortions in which women remained pregnant & # 39; and an alleged failure to & # 39; informed consent & # 39; to obtain. The department has not explained the allegations.
Planned Parenthood lawyer Jamie Boyer told Stelzer that state concerns have been resolved, but the health department will not renew the license unless it can interview five contract doctors about seven cases of patient care highlighted by the inspection.
Boyer said that while both staff doctors were interviewed at the clinic, contract doctors refuse, partly out of concern, they will say something that could lead to criminal charges due to restrictive abortion laws in Missouri.
Governor of Missouri, Mike Parson, a Republican, is shown here at a press conference in which he said it was "reckless" & # 39; would be if a judge took action to keep the only abortion clinic in the state open because of what he described as health and safety deficiencies at the St. Louis facility
& # 39; Planned parenthood, with the exception of the interviews, has turned back & # 39; to work with the state, Boyer said.
Assistant Attorney General John Sauer said the request to interview the doctors is reasonable.
& # 39; The facility has the ability to say: & # 39; You must work together & # 39;, & # 39; said Sauer.
The hearing happened as the abortion rights defenders rally elsewhere in downtown St. Louis on Thursday.
The closest clinics that perform abortions are in a suburb of Kansas City and in Granite City. The Kansas Clinic is approximately 300 km from St. Louis.
Missouri is half a dozen states that have withstood far-reaching anti-abortion measures in recent months.
Missouri already had some of the most restrictive abortion regulations in the nation, including the requirement that physicians who perform abortions have partnerships with nearby hospitals.
A total of 2,910 abortions took place in Missouri in 2018, according to preliminary data from the National Health Service. This includes 433 abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy and 267 after six weeks or earlier.
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