Springfield abortion clinic closes its doors
By Allen Palmeri
November 1, 2005
JEFFERSON CITY– Springfield Healthcare Center, the lone provider of abortions in Springfield, has closed its doors.
The clinic had provided about 1,000 abortions a year, according to the former clinic administrator, Michelle Turner-Collins. Its abortionist had been Dr. Allen Palmer, who drove in from St. Louis. Now that Palmer will not be doing that, efforts were made to contact 10-15 local physicians and out-of-town doctors to see if any one of them would agree to become the new Springfield abortionist, according to the Springfield News-Leader. All candidates refused.
Turner-Collins said the governing board of the abortion facility voted Oct. 19 for its closure, which occurred the next day. She complained to the Associated Press that there is “zero support from the medical community” when it comes to abortionists practicing their surgeries in Springfield. She also said the center’s board members had noticed a “hostile” environment in Missouri that keeps on requiring abortionists to “jump through the hoops that they keep putting forward,” the News-Leader reported.
Anti-abortion leaders in the state, including Gov. Matt Blunt, were quick to take note of the closure.
“The governor hopes this closing will move Missourians to consider alternatives to abortion so that our state can move forward in embracing a culture that values human life,” said Blunt spokesman Spence Jackson. “We do believe that the emphasis that he has placed on enacting legislation that will reduce the number of abortions in our state is helping put a strong focus on the importance of this issue once again. It is an issue that had been neglected by the past two administrations.”
Blunt called a special session of the Missouri General Assembly that led to him signing a new pro-life bill into law Sept. 15, only to have U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey on Sept. 16 block a provision requiring that a physician has clinical privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where they provide abortions. Palmer was out of business for a day because of that law, but Laughrey issued a temporary restraining order that enabled him to proceed as a Springfield abortionist. Now that the center is closing, the lawsuit that triggered Laughrey’s stay will be dropped, Turner-Collins said. Therefore, only the decisions of Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Charles Atwell, a Mel Carnahan appointee who ruled Sept. 26 that a temporary restraining order be applied to two other provisions of the new law, stand in the way of the full law going into effect.
“We will remain steadfast in our defense of this good pro-life law,” Jackson said. “We are ready and willing to do whatever it takes to see that it’s defended and that it becomes implemented as quickly as possible.”
Kerry Messer, lobbyist, Missouri Baptist Convention Christian Life Commission, said that when lawmakers pass pro-life legislation that restricts the so-called constitutional right to an abortion, good things happen.
“Any time state or federal governments pass restrictions on unfettered access to abortion, the result is a general decline in abortion numbers,” Messer said. “It points to the fact that the nation has a collective soul and that the culture does have a conscience. The conscience of this nation is still alive and well.”
The abortion clinic was located at 1837 E. Cherry St. It had operated for more than 30 years, according to clinic officials.
As of Oct. 20, seven full- and part-time employees of the clinic have been laid off, the News-Leader reported.
There are now only two facilities in Missouri where abortionists are operating with one each in St. Louis and Columbia. Both are run by Planned Parenthood.