Planned Parenthood supporters rally outside St.Louis clinic in Dec 2015

Missouri is about to have more than one abortion clinic

In recent years, a person seeking an abortion in Missouri only had option: one Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis. This month, access will triple.

As the Riverfront Times reports:

“The number of abortion-providing clinics in Missouri is about to triple — from one to three. This month, for the first time in several years, the Planned Parenthood locations in Kansas City and Columbia will include abortion among their services, although only the Columbia clinic will offer the surgical procedure.

And that’s only the beginning. Clinics in Joplin and Springfield are still awaiting state inspections, says Jesse Lawder, a spokesman for Planned Parenthood of St. Louis and Southwestern Missouri. Those locations are expected to become the state’s fourth and and fifth abortion providers.”

This is remarkably good news considering Governor Eric Greitens is fighting tooth and nail to further restrict Missouri’s already-strict abortion laws. In July, Governor Greitens called a special legislative session specifically focused on abortion – and he passed a law that would require people seeking abortion to meet with a physician (not just a clinic staff member) 72 hours before the procedure. (Fun fact: these restrictions will be challenged in federal court this month by the Satanic Temple. They’re advocates’ unexpected new allies, arguing that Missouri’s anti-abortion requirements violate their religious belief in “the inviolability of one’s own body” and scientific principles.)

For now, the new clinics owe their ability to offer surgical abortions to a federal judge’s court ruling back in April – which struck down a different set of restrictions (the state wanted clinics to outfit themselves for “major surgery” and have local hospital admitting privileges). In ruling that the clinics could open without adhering to those burdensome requirements, the judge wrote that the restrictions were more likely to endanger health than protect it (by making abortion clinics inaccessible to the majority of the state).

For someone seeking an abortion, having access to a clinic within a reasonable distance is critical. It’s not enough to have the theoretical option of getting the care you need if it’s not practical (e.g. you would have to take time off of work and maybe have to pay for a place to stay or extra gas to get there).

Go Missouri organizers for fighting for abortion access in the Midwest!

Image credit: Camille Phillips, St. Louis Public Radio

Daniela Lapidous is a writer, researcher, and climate organizer at heart. She currently lives in New York City researching decentralized social movements and organizing with Sunrise, a new movement of young people committed to stopping climate change, transitioning our country to a renewable energy economy, and creating thousands of good jobs in the process. She is a Columbia University alum and Bay Area native.

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