COLUMBIA - Planned Parenthood Great Plains filed a lawsuit against Missouri today.
Kristin Metcalf-Wilson, Assistant Vice President of Health Services said, “Our lawsuit is to file a temporary restraining order immediately because we have patients on our schedule that would like to have the option of having a medical abortion or surgical abortion and with the department of health not approving our plan, we can’t provide medical abortion services.”
The lawsuit challenges a second provision of Senate Bill 5 that requires abortion providers in Missouri have a complication plan approved by the Department of Health and Senior Services.
Kathy Forck, campaign director 40 days for life said “This law is for the safety of women. That’s why it was passed.”
Metcalf-Wilson said there is no need for the plan.
“Senate Bill 5 came out with 30 pages of really unnecessary, medically unnecessary restrictions regarding abortion services in the state of Missouri. And one of those specific requirements was a complication plan or policy that needs to be approved by the department of health and human services,” Metcalf-Wilson said.
The plan has resulted in the loss of medication abortion services in Columbia, Missouri and has narrowed mid-Missouri patients to surgical abortion procedures.
“When they started writing rules we only found out last week that the new policy procedure around the complication plan would be required,” Metcalf-Wilson said. “It doesn’t improve quality of care, it doesn’t reduce complications. It’s just a more restrictive way of requiring a procedure have a policy in place, which we all do anyway. I? mean we all want to make sure that our patients have after hours care and coverage whenever they would need to for an emergency or other complication.”
The complication plan requires medication abortion providers to contract with a second OBGYN – even if the provider is an OBGYN – who also has hospital admitting privileges locally.
“There needs to be an OBGYN in this area who will be on call to help woman who has the RU46 pill which is the chemical abortion pill. The doctor that comes here is from Saint Louis. She’s nowhere to be found,” Forck said. “What’s wrong with Columbia that they can’t find a doctor that wants to be engaged in the abortion practices here.”
“We have an obgyn that provides services and she is privileged but not in a local hospital and this is a back requirement with an additional back up physician that’s privileged in a hospital. It’s really an erroneous restriction,” Metcalf-Wilson said. "We also have nurses available 24-7."
Patients who choose medication abortion will have to drive to St. Louis or the Kansas City metro area to obtain their abortion pill.
“If they truly care about women they would want to have a consistent patient doctor relationship. It sounds to me like Columbia just wants to come in and do abortions and leave these poor women,” Forck said.
One week ago, PPGP began providing abortion services in Columbia for the first time in nearly two years. It also expanded access to abortion in Midtown Kansas City within the past month.
“I’m not sure why the Missouri Department of Health thinks that we need to have more restriction once again on a procedure that has a less than 2% complication rate,”Metcalf-Wilson said.