Missouri’s last abortion clinic will stay open after ruling ends contentious year-long legal battle
By Reis Thebault and Emily Wax-Thibodeaux
May 29, 2020
Missouri has narrowly avoided a return to a time before Roe v. Wade after an independent arbiter ruled that its last operating abortion clinic can continue offering the procedure.
After a year-long legal battle that pitted allegations of grave violations against accusations of regulatory overreach, the Planned Parenthood in St. Louis won a rare victory in a state that has become increasingly hostile to abortion rights.
As Missouri Clinic Awaits Its Legal Fate, Abortions In State Have Virtually Halted
March 12, 2020
Missouri could soon become the first state in the nation without a clinic providing abortions, but Planned Parenthood officials say the last remaining one there has already all-but ceased performing the procedure.
The clinic, Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, is at the center of a licensing dispute between the organization and Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson's administration. That clinic's future is in the hands of a state commission that is expected to issue a decision in the coming weeks or months.
"The right to abortion has been decimated": Shocking stories characterize abortion rights hearing
Missouri women were subject to needless pelvic exams, part of a cruel tactic from anti-choice legislators
November 17, 2019
After she learned her fetus was affected by a rare, severe abnormality that would result in her pregnancy ending either in stillbirth or a baby whose life necessitated immediate medical intervention, a small business owner from Missouri and her husband decided the "greatest act of love" they could take as parents would be to terminate the pregnancy. In deciding to terminate the pregnancy, the couple didn't expect politics to play a role in their experience — but that's exactly what happened.
"Libby's story is heartbreakingly linked with the political landscape in Missouri — something I never thought I would have to navigate when learning the most devastating news of our life," Jennifer Box said in emotional testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee. "This meant I moved at the direction of the government."
Sex-selective abortions: Reproductive rights are being pitted against gender equality
Critics say the bans are "anti-abortion ruses" rooted in an effort to racially profile Asian American and Pacific Islander women.
Oct. 27, 2019
By Safia Samee Ali
When Dr. Colleen McNicholas treats a woman seeking an abortion in Missouri, she must, under penalty of law, ask a series of uncomfortable questions probing why the woman wants the procedure, including if it’s because of the fetus's gender.
That question, which she said patients find “absurd” and “completely inappropriate,” is a requirement that was left intact by a Missouri federal judge who halted several other restrictive measures, such as a ban on abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy, signed into law by Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, in May in an effort to block abortion access.
The Strategy Behind Where to Build Abortion Clinics
The bifurcation of abortion access in the United States means more clinics should be built on the border of states with onerous anti-choice restrictions, advocates say.
Oct 11, 2019
After 18 months of secret construction, Planned Parenthood will open one of the nation’s largest abortion clinics in southern Illinois this month, expanding access not just in the state but across the midwest.
The new health center in Fairview Heights, Illinois, will replace the city’s smaller Planned Parenthood clinic, which provided family planning and medication abortion services to more than 5,000 patients in 2018. The location of the new facility, just 13 miles from Missouri’s last remaining abortion clinic in St. Louis, was strategically chosen to reach as many patients in the region as possible, said Yamelsie Rodriguez, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.
Violence against abortion clinics hit a record high last year. Doctors say it's getting worse.
By Kate Smith
Updated on: September 17, 2019
For one of the last abortion doctors in Missouri, harassment, stalking and death threats are a part of regular life. But this year, it's been worse than ever.
Colleen McNicholas, the chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, is one of many providers who told CBS News they've seen an uptick in violence this year, both against themselves and their clinics. They say the increased harassment has coincided with newly enacted state laws restricting legal abortion and polarizing rhetoric surrounding the procedure.
I Volunteered For Abortion Rights In Missouri & It Made Me Rethink My Entire Life
By Kara Lewis
August 22, 2019
In this op-ed, writer Kara Lewis explains how volunteering at a Planned Parenthood clinic changed what feminism meant to her.
Imagine living in a place where legislators banned abortion after eight weeks, with no exceptions for rape, human trafficking, incest, or fatal abnormalities. Then, if someone manages to confirm a pregnancy within this period — often, it takes people up to 12 weeks to verify that they are pregnant — they might have to travel more than 200 miles to the state’s lone, persecuted abortion clinic. Along the way, they can expect to see car license plates emblazoned with “Choose Life,” a campaign that funnels money from these plate sales into anti-abortion organizations. They might also stumble upon one of the state’s estimated 69 tax-funded crisis pregnancy centers, which masquerade as real health clinics but peddle religious sentiments and misinformation.
Missouri and the Fight for Abortion Rights: How Past Became Prologue
Missouri’s historic battle for abortion rights presaged in important ways where we are today, and what will be required of reproductive rights advocates in the future.
Aug 1, 2019
The time, the late 1960s; the place, St. Louis, Missouri. Judy Widdicombe, a twenty-something self-described supermom, was raising two boys with her husband, working as a labor and delivery nurse in a Catholic hospital, and volunteering one night a week as a counselor on a suicide prevention hotline.
“In those days, there was no official place a woman with an unwanted pregnancy could go for help,” she told me when I interviewed her for my book, The Choices We Made: 25 Women and Men Speak Out About Abortion.
How Health Officials in Pro-Life States Are Quietly Dismantling Abortion Access
Without the fanfare of a bill signing or a Supreme Court decision, the first state without an abortion clinic is in sight.
July 31, 2019
One spring day in 2017, Dr. Ernest Marshall received an inauspicious letter from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the state's health agency. Marshall, a Louisville native with a round face and a trimmed mustache, has been an OB-GYN and teacher with the University of Louisville School of Medicine for nearly four decades. For just as long, he's owned what is now the state's last abortion clinic. EMW Women's Surgical Center sits on a stretch of sprawling, sparsely populated real estate in downtown Louisville, across from a cinema-sized money lender and down the block from a Subway restaurant.
Here are the 5 things to watch for next in the abortion debate
Most legislatures in antiabortion states are out for the summer. But bills are still being debated by lawmakers and challenged in the courts.
June 10, 2019
Since January, when most state legislatures convened for their first session since Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court, there has been a flurry of far-right abortion legislation. Nine states have passed bills narrowing the time period in which women can legally access abortion. Alabama has effectively banned abortion altogether. (The bills have not yet taken effect, and many have already been challenged in court.)
While a handful of states stay in session year-round, most state legislatures have adjourned for the year. That means there probably won’t be much more antiabortion legislation passed in 2019.