By Dave Andrusko
Good news on two fronts in Missouri. The state is appealing a decision protecting one of the state’s two abortion clinics and additional pro-life measures have been introduced in the state legislature.
As expected, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster’s office has appealed a decision last month by U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey to issue a preliminary injunction blocking the Missouri health department from revoking the license of one of the two abortion clinics in Missouri. Judge Laughrey ruled that Missouri health officials likely violated the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause when they moved against the clinic in Columbia, Missouri.
As reported in NRL News Today, under state law, an abortionist “can perform or induce an abortion only if he or she has clinical privileges at a hospital that offers obstetrical or gynecological care within 30 miles of the location where the abortion is being performed,” according to Alex Stuckey of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Prior to a legislative investigation that began last July, abortionist Colleen McNicholas had what is known as “refer and follow” privileges with the University of Missouri Health Care. Under such an arrangement, the abortionist can refer a patient to the hospital’s doctors for follow up care, typically in an emergency.
However once the University of Missouri Health Care System’s medical system voted to discontinue this privilege (enjoyed by McNicholas and another physician), it meant the Columbia abortion clinic had to stop performing chemical abortions.
Planned Parenthood of Kansas City and mid-Missouri (PPKM) filed a federal lawsuit November 30, the day before the state Department of Health and Senior Services was set to revoke the facility’s license. Judge Laughrey issued a TRO, followed by a temporary injunction followed by a preliminary injunction.
In addition, the Columbia Missourian reported that “After months of jointly investigating Planned Parenthood operations in the state, two Missouri House committees released a report Wednesday calling for new regulation of abortion facilities and increased legislative oversight of abortion providers in Missouri.”
According to Elise Schmelzer and Rachel Treece, “Since the legislative session started earlier this month, [Rep. Diane] Franklin and [Rep. Andrew] Koenig have introduced four bills regarding abortion.”
· HB 2069 would protect employees of facilities that handle aborted tissue should they report that the facility was violating state or federal regulations. It is sponsored by Franklin.
· HB 2070 would change the definition of “remains of a human fetus” to “remains of the dead offspring of a human being that has reached a stage of development so that there are cartilaginous structures or fetal or skeletal parts after an abortion or miscarriage, whether the remains have been obtained by induced, spontaneous, or accidental means.” It is sponsored by Franklin.
· HB 2071 would require that all aborted tissue be sent to a pathologist, instead of a sample of the tissue as currently required, and more stringent tracking of aborted tissue. It would also require the Department of Health and Senior Services to create an annual report for the General Assembly. It is sponsored by Franklin.
· HB 2371 would make unannounced inspections of abortion facilities an annual requirement and make all inspection and investigation reports of abortion facilities public record. It would also make it illegal to pay a woman to conceive a child for the purpose of aborting it for its fetal tissue. It is sponsored by Koenig.