JEFFERSON CITY – Christians throughout Missouri rallied to support the state’s pro-life laws after Missouri affiliates of Planned Parenthood – the nation’s top abortion provider – filed a federal lawsuit, Nov. 23, challenging Missouri laws that require abortion clinics to meet the medical standards of surgical clinics and that require their doctors to hold hospital privileges.
The lawsuit came after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down similar laws in Texas. In a 5-3 opinion, the high court ruled that portions of a Texas law that regulate abortion doctors and clinics constitute an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to abort her child and are therefore unconstitutional. The high court’s reversal of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans invalidated a requirement an abortion clinic must meet the health and safety standards of other walk-in surgical centers. It also nullified a section mandating that an abortion doctor must have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital in case a woman needs emergency admission.
The Supreme Court decision, however, left uncertain the future of similar abortion provider regulations in other states — requiring Planned Parenthood, as a result, to file a separate lawsuit against Missouri.
According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Susan Klein – a Missouri Baptist pastor’s wife and legislative liaison for Missouri Right to Life – said it was “absurd” that Planned Parenthood should challenge laws that raise the medical and safety standards of abortion clinics.
“Women have not been harmed (by these laws),” Klein told the Post Dispatch, “they’ve been helped. They’re getting better care than they would without the restrictions.”
Christians affiliated with Team PLAY, another Missouri-based pro-life group, likewise expressed shock in a Dec. 12 press release that Planned Parenthood would “nullify vitally important, very basic laws put in place by Missouri lawmakers to protect women’s safety and health.”
“Planned Parenthood’s desire to dodge basic safety practices which are being followed, as we speak, by every other surgical center in Missouri is startling and egregious,” the press release said, “particularly in light of the fact that on Dec. 2 Congress issued a recommendation for criminal charges to be pursued against Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast (in Houston, Texas) due to believed criminal activity (See related story, page 3). And just as importantly, … our own Missouri State lawmakers issued a troubling report in July, 2016, after investigating Missouri Planned Parenthood locations, citing shocking indifference to women’s health, possibly constituting medical malpractice.”
Team PLAY held simultaneous press conferences in St. Louis, Columbia, Springfield , Joplin and Kansas City on Dec. 12, calling the Missouri Attorney General’s office to give a “vigorous defense” of state law.
According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, some state lawmakers said they plan to file bills challenging legal restrictions of abortion clinics. Meanwhile, Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake Saint Louis, told the Associated Press that he plans to file a bill that would require abortion clinics to keep records regarding the disposal of aborted babies’ tissues. He said he was also researching ways to protect abortion clinic employees who act as whistleblowers.