Court upholds new restrictions to Missouri abortion clinics

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COLUMBIA - New restrictions to abortion clinics went into place Tuesday after Jackson County Circuit Court denied a restraining order on an abortion restriction law in the state of Missouri.

Under the same-physician mandate, patients must hold a conference with the physician providing the abortion procedure at least 72 hours before their appointment.

During this appointment, physicians are required to inform women of the the immediate and long-term risks of the chosen abortion method, anesthesia and medication, according to the bill.

This provision makes it so some patients have to travel hundreds of miles several days before their appointment, and then to their appointment again 3 days later. 

Director of Communications and Marketing for Planned Parenthood Great Plains, Bonyen Lee-Gilmore said this can lead to problems for women.

"For many women, this is going to price them out of being able to access an abortion," Lee-Gilmore said. 

Lee-Gilmore said this is also partly because of the few doctors that are licensed to perform abortions. 

"The same-physician mandate creates inaccessibility for many patients in Missouri, because for PPGP in Columbia and Kansas City, we have a challenge finding enough abortion providers to be able to accommodate the great need that our patients have in accessing safe legal abortion," Lee-Gilmore said. 

Tuesday, Missouri State Representative Cheri Reisch spoke at a press conference outside of the Columbia Planned Parenthood.

Missouri women's advocates and lawmakers held press conferences at each Planned Parenthood location in the state, St. Louis, Joplin, Kansas City, Springfield, and Columbia.

Reisch and the Missouri women's advocates spoke in favor of Senate Bill 5.

The press statement read, "SB5 has come in the nick of time, as Planned Parenthood's desire to erase very basic and foundational medical standards which any legitimate surgical center would happily comply with and which ALL surgical centers outside of the billion dollar abortion industry DO comply with, is as perplexing as it is dangerous." 

The press conference also focused on the St. Louis Planned Parenthood location. It called for the immediate suspension of the abortion clinic license at the location. The press release claimed ambulances took 67 women away from Planned Parenthood since 2009. 

Reisch did not take any questions after the press conference. 

Lee-Gilmore said Planned Parenthood will continue to challenge the same-physician mandate. She said it's legal team is working around the clock to figure out the next steps to providing safe abortions.

[Editor's Note: This story has been corrected. We said the 8th U.S. District Court of Appeals denied the temporary restraining order from Planned Parenthood. A Jackson County Circuit Court upheld Senate Bill 5.]

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