Changes at Planned Parenthood
Columbia's Planned Parenthood offers many family planning services, including abortions. But, the clinic will have to make changes if it continues to offer that service thanks to the recently passed bill.
"The opponents of abortion have used this bill in order to shut down abortion clinics and it has nothing to do with improving women's health and safety," said a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood, Michelle Trupiano.
The bill requires any clinic that offers abortions, including Planned Parenthood, to meet certain structural standards. These standards include making sure there are two exits on each floor, widening hallways to eight feet wide and making all doors leading to operating rooms 44 inches wide.
The structural changes are necessary because the new bill re-classifies abortion clinics as ambulatory surgical clinics. State regulations already in place require the doorways and hallways to be certain dimensions. Currently the only Planned Parenthood that meets the state requirements is located in St. Louis.
The Columbia Planned Parenthood says the changes would cost about $1 million and it's money they don't have.
"At this time it looks like we will shut down our abortion services," Trupiano said.
Open Arms Pregnancy Center advocates alternatives to abortion and says the bill will force abortion clinics to meet important safety standards.
"Whether it's an abortion clinic or any other medical facility, they need to abide by strict standards for the safety of the women who come to such centers," Open Arms Director Nile Abele said.
Gov. Blunt is expected to sign the bill soon. Once signed, clinics must make the changes by Aug. 28. Planned Parenthood says if it does find the money for rennovations, it isn't clear how long the construction would take.