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Planned Parenthood files federal lawsuit challenging Missouri abortion laws

Planned Parenthood South Austin Health Center
Planned Parenthood South Austin Health Center is seen following the U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a Texas law imposing strict regulations on abortion doctors and facilities in Austin, Texas, U.S. June 27, 2016. Photo by Ilana Panich-Linsman/REUTERS

(St. Louis Post-Dispatch) Planned Parenthood affiliates in Missouri have filed a federal lawsuit challenging two state laws they say are unconstitutional.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday morning in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, challenges requirements that abortion clinics meet standards for surgical centers and that their doctors have privileges in a nearby hospital.

The requirements are “medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion,” the lawsuit says, pointing to the fact that similar laws in Texas were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in July.

“The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that these politically and ideologically motivated restrictions serve no medical purpose and lead to potentially dangerous and harmful consequences for patients seeking abortion,” Laura McQuade, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, and Mary Kogut, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, said in a joint statement released Wednesday morning.

Currently, the only facility performing elective abortions in Missouri is a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis.

Columbia’s Planned Parenthood clinic stopped offering abortion services last year after the University of Missouri-Columbia revoked hospital privileges to the clinic’s doctor. The move came following political pressure from Republican state lawmakers who questioned whether the publicly funded university should be associating with an abortion provider.

Planned Parenthood has made it clear that if the hospital admitting privileges requirement is struck down it will resume abortion services in Columbia. Last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling has given them hope.

“Neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in last July’s majority opinion. “Each places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking (an) abortion, each constitutes an undue burden on abortion access, and each violates the federal Constitution.”

But as abortion-rights advocates push to undue Missouri’s stringent regulations on abortion, Republican lawmakers are already planning ways to expand them. Legislation that’s likely on the 2017 agenda includes mandating annual health inspections for abortion clinics and requiring providers track fetal tissue from abortions.

Sen.-elect Andrew Koenig, a Republican from St. Louis County, said the goal is to make abortion completely unavailable in Missouri.

“I don’t like abortion. I want it out of the state,” Koenig told the Associated Press. “One avenue is regulation.”

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16 Comments

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  • Planned Parenthood — planning to kill more babies for money. “Care no matter what” except you are not born yet and you are not wanted. Then we are free to make money off disposing of you.

  • The unconstitutionality of these statutes is not in real dispute. The response of the state senator-elect is both comical and frightening. Regulate them out of business. Require them to have hospital privileges then blackmail the hospital into revoking those privileges. If there’s anything good out of this, it’s that it shows their claims that they really, really care about women’s health to be a complete and total lie.

  • Thank you for acknowledging that the purpose behind these laws is to limit or attack the right of women to obtain abortions and create undue obstructions to those medical providers who perform the service. That the pretense of medical safety and protection of the patients is complete and utter bull.

    Btw as noted in the article about Brazil this week, the most effective way to reduce abortion is not to ban it legally, but the opposite. Make it legal, accessible along with modern contraceptives and legal equitable empowerment of women. Bans simply drive the procedures underground where they are more dangerous and potentially lethal.

    If you are going to engage in inflammatory rhetoric then its safe to say according to the obvious results of your views, killing mothers in the name of God does not seem to give you much of a problem.

  • The legislators of Missouri probably have plenty of important work to do rather than spending bundles of tax payer money in court on indefensible laws. But some Republicans love their dog whistles.

  • “Abortion is Baalism dressed up in surgical garb.”

    Edward, your claim would be more honest and respectful if you began it with, “I believe that…”.

    Not everyone shares your beliefs about when personhood starts. On the other hand, the personhood of women is not in dispute. Is it?

    What of their will? What of their rights? What of their clearly private, wholly proprietary bodies?

    Can you, and will you, personally finance even one child of one woman you don’t know, for 20 years? Can you, and will you, also personally finance the remaining life of that one woman you don’t know, whose personal life, professional career opportunities, and physical and spiritual integrity you seek to man-handle willy-nilly?

    Would you submit to strangers if they demanded that you subject your life to their values, that you subordinate your beliefs to theirs, that you cede control of your body to their man-agement?

    How would you respond to a person, a group, a government, a religion that presumed to dismiss and disparage you, your devout faith, and your sacred values, with a pithy proclamation as invasive and contemptuous as yours — such as, for example, “Christianity is Baalism dressed up in snakeskin.”?

  • Your final quoted clause does not make sense in context, because Baalism had a clearly defined set of practical religious parameters that do not compare to Christianity. The statistical evidence is clear, the bulk of abortions are acts of mere convenience to defray the consequences of careless sexual practices practiced by both men and women despite the abundant availability of information and tools to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Personhood is not a matter of mere belief, but of science. It is my understanding from past posts that you declare yourself to be a Christian… therefore as a Christian, how do you reply to this declaration from the text of the scriptures, “And it came to pass, that, when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.” …” for lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.” Luke 1: 41 and 44. If John, who later was renowned as “The Baptist” recognized the voice of Mary, the earthly mother of the Saviour, and responded while in the womb to her voice, I don’t think the personhood of a child in utero can be disputed. Of course, there is a great deal of modern biological science to demonstrate that same point. Therefore, if a child in utero is a person, then that person has rights to be considered against the putative right of the woman to terminate her pregnancy with prejudice. Under the law, women may do what they will, in the Church there is no right or basis for the act of abortion.

  • “Your final quoted clause does not make sense in context, because Baalism had a clearly defined set of practical religious parameters that do not compare to Christianity.” — That is exactly my point: Abortion : Baalism :: Baalism : Christianity.

    “…the bulk of abortions are acts of mere convenience…” — That is “mere” dismissive judgment of people you don’t even know, people you have no business taking it upon yourself to judge. And it’s blatantly invasive of their rightful private lives and legal acts.

    “…to defray the consequences of careless sexual practices…” — Ditto, ditto, and ditto. And creepily, haughtily, naughtily nosy of you to even let yourself contemplate it.

    “Personhood is not a matter of mere belief, but of science.” — Science has empirically determined when personhood occurs? All I can say is yet another “Ditto”, however flattering your claim may sound to the most vain of pseudoscientists.

    “It is my understanding from past posts that you declare yourself to be a Christian…[thru the remainder of your reply]” — Ah, I see the problem. Nope. I just value and practice Equality, Respect, Empathy, and Familiarity. (Those are my chosen guiding values.)

    I just support other people’s freedoms and rights to live their lives in accordance with their own personally chosen and constitutionally protected spiritual/existential beliefs.

    I just recognize and delight in the joy and comfort that others’ faiths bring to their lives.

    I just follow the Golden Rule, which I believe means respecting other people’s personal boundaries, beliefs, belongings, bodies, bedrooms, and business (as in Mind Your Own), and their rights, freedoms, privacy, and equality, as I would have others respect my own.

    And so I would never attempt to impose my personal beliefs upon other people.

    But I will stand up to those whose chosen guiding values, religious or not, somehow “permit” them to trespass across other people’s personal, spiritual, existential boundaries; to hold others to their own beliefs; to subject others to their own faiths’ demands; and to otherwise presume to restrain others’ private lives instead of restraining themselves from such vile and profane temptation.

    The idea that the elitist “We” deserve more say-so over “Their” lives than they do over ours is appalling to me — it’s the classic precursor to subjugation and oppression. And proffering it under color of “religious liberty” is as deceitful as anything the biblical serpent said to Eve.

    I find it shocking that some people think nothing of indulging that grandly delusional, shamelessly self-exalting, sociopathically megalomaniacal part of their psyches — the very part that they should be “religiously” laboring to manage under the most unforgivingly critical eye of vigilant self-scrutiny.

    Maybe it’s because managing one’s own life is far more difficult — and inescapably… Humbling.

  • But there is context for an equivalency linking Baalism and abortion. Infant sacrifice was a regular practice among those who worshipped Baal. And as I noted in my last post, John’s in utero recognition of Mary’s voice demonstrates that a sentient individual occupied Elizabeth’s womb, the bible clearly attests this; biologically there is no substantive difference between a fetus and a young infant.

  • Re Baalism: an “infant”, by definition, is a born baby, not a fetus.

    Re the bible’s attestation: belief, not fact. Your beliefs, however sincere, and however passionate, nevertheless do not establish facts for everyone else.

    You may have previously read the following post of mine, but it bears repeating:

    – – – – – – – –

    Some believe life begins at birth.
    Some believe life begins at 26 weeks.
    Some believe life begins at 20 weeks.
    Some believe life begins when fetal movement can be seen.
    Some believe life begins when a fetal heartbeat can be heard.
    Some believe life begins when a zygote attaches to a uterus.
    Some believe life begins when an ovum is fertilized.
    Some believe life begins when an ovum exists.

    Everyone has their own beliefs.
    Everyone has a right to their own beliefs.
    Everyone cherishes their right to their own beliefs.

    One’s beliefs are not more “valid” than another’s.
    One’s beliefs are not more “important” than another’s.
    One’s beliefs do not trump another’s.
    One’s beliefs do not govern another’s.

    What matters is one’s right to hold oneself to one’s beliefs.
    What matters are others’ rights to hold themselves to their beliefs.

    This may or may not be wisdom.
    But this is America.

    – – – – – – – –

    You are free to make your own choices.
    So are everybody else.
    Neither of us is going to “win” the debate we are having.
    But both of us have made our positions clear.

    Maybe we can agree that, if all the money, all the time, and all the energy that American individuals and groups spend arguing (and much worse) over this issue were instead spent creating a completely safe, completely effective “on/off switch” to control both ovulation and sperm production, and on making it readily available for everyone — most importantly for those who couldn’t afford it — then we could all start fighting over something else instead. ?

  • I appreciate your declaration that we both have made our positions clear, and that neither of us is going to “win.” The science you suggest is laudable, but even at great effort and expense, I’m not confident that we could achieve it any time soon, though I would gladly embrace it over present circumstances. My only challenge to the list you have provided is that regardless of what either you or I believe, God in His time will reveal and declare to humanity His view of this and every other matter of real account. Peace. I do not insist on the last word, if you care to reply, I will gladly hear you.

  • So, Edward, am I to believe that a woman with children, and employed is of less value than a fetus? This analogy does not really compute. If a woman is forced to continue her pregnancy, will you support her and her child?

  • Really? Perhaps you should consult with a doctor who specializes in OB/GYN and learn some facts.

  • I have heard plenty of testimony of just such doctors who affirm the very things I have attested to here, perhaps you could stand a little bit of illumination on the subject.

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