Changes to Abortion Services

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COLUMBIA - A ruling from the Eighth Circuit Court in St. Louis threatens to shut down abortion services in Planned Parenthood in Columbia. The decision vacated a preliminary injunction that had been issued by the Western District of Missouri in 2017.

The injunction had prohibited the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services from enforcing state laws and regulations requiring physicians who perform abortions to have hospital privileges. With this new ruling, the DHSS will begin to enforce these privileges at abortion clinics such as Planned Parenthood.

CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, Brandon Hill, said if this law does go through that women who are looking for abortion services will have to travel to St. Louis or neighboring states to get the procedure.

 “These laws are particularly restrictive,” said Hill.

While this ruling may come as a shock to Planned Parenthood supporters, some opponents are relieved to hear this news.

 “I would have to say I am very pleased with the appellant court’s ruling. These laws are set in place to keep women safe,” said Bonnie Lee, a retired registered nurse.

Lee has been working as a Sidewalk Advocate for '40 Days for Life'. The organization is devoted to peaceful and spiritual campaigning to end abortion and educate communities about it.

Lee has been a Sidewalk Advocate for the organization since 2010, and said she enjoys educating those about the alternatives to abortion. She said her goal is to make Missouri the first state to outlaw abortion.

 “We feel that prayer is the foundation, so it’s people coming to the sidewalk and literally being in prayer,” Lee said.

Hill said that this new ruling can adversely effect the accessibility of abortions for women in Missouri. He said that this ruling is an inconvenience to Missouri women and rarely have to do with health care issues.

 “These types of requirements, both the surgical center requirements and admitting privileges, are a tremendous burden on Missouri women seeking and abortion," Hill continued. "They completely undermine systems that regulate safety around abortion in favor of just political motivation."

Hill said that Planned Parenthood will continue to provide services in Columbia going forward. The injunction will remain in effect until Planned Parenthood seeks review of the panel's decision.

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