PPFA/ACLU Target Missouri’s pro-life SB5

By Dave Andrusko

Missouri State Sen. Bob Onder

On Tuesday Planned Parenthood, in conjunction with the ACLU, filed the latest in a string of lawsuits, this time a challenge to a component of SB 5, an omnibus pro-life measure passed during the special session called last summer by Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

Filed in Jackson County Circuit Court, the lawsuit was brought by Planned Parenthood Great Plains, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, and the ACLU of Missouri and challenges the requirement that the abortionist who will perform the abortion be the one who informs the woman 72 hours in advance, of the potential immediate and long-term medical risks to her. Those include among other risks infection, hemorrhage, cervical tear or uterine perforation, harm to subsequent pregnancies, and adverse psychological effects.

“Aaron Samulcek, interim president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, says the requirements are designed to discourage abortions,” according to Brian Ellison of St. Louis Public Radio.

The lawsuit “also seeks a temporary restraining order to keep the law from taking effect as scheduled on October 24.”

Missouri Sen. Bob Onder, who supported the bill and who is a physician, said, “I think it’s universal medical practice that we meet the surgeon that’s going to do the surgical procedure and we discuss the risks and the benefits of it and the alternatives to the procedure,” according to Andy Marso of the Kansas City Star.

Sen. Onder added, “it only takes Missouri’s informed consent laws back to where they were before 2010.”

Ellison noted that there were other parts of SB 5 that were not part of Tuesday’s complaint, “including a requirement that clinics have plans in place for responding to medical complications and the granting of authority for enforcing abortion laws to the state attorney general.”

When asked late Tuesday for comment, the office of Attorney General Joshua D. Hawley, said it had just received copies of the lawsuit. “SB5 enacts sensible regulations that protect the health of women in Missouri and it is our duty and privilege to vigorously defend them,” said Loree Ann Paradise, Hawley’s deputy chief of staff.

As NRL News Today has reported in multiple stories, Planned Parenthood is attempting to ramp up its business in Missouri, specifically in Columbia, Springfield and Joplin.

Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs cited the 2016 Supreme Court Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision as the basis to issue an injunction against two Missouri laws–one requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles, the other requiring abortion clinics to meet the requirements of ambulatory surgical centers. Two weeks later he issued an order directing abortion clinic license applications “to be processed promptly, in light of patient needs, and without effective influence from opponents of abortion.”

That injunction was first lifted by the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and then reinstated by the same court.