Newburgh Gazette: Greitens signs broader abortion regulations

Dwayne Harmon 28 July 2017, 02:21

It requires annual, unannounced inspections at clinics; a complication plan if medication-induced abortion later requires surgical procedures; and gives the Attorney General jurisdiction in certain circumstances. The passage of the bill is reportedly an attempt to replace medically unnecessary clinic regulations blocked by a federal court, and prevent Planned Parenthood from opening new clinics in Columbia, Springfield, and Joplin. In addition, HCS SB 5 expands the powers of the Attorney General and protects our Pregnancy Resource Centers and faith communities in St. Louis and across the State of Missouri from being forced to participate in abortion. Supporters say the regulations are necessary to ensure the safety and health of women using the facilities.

The bill’s senate sponsor, Andrew Koenig (R-Manchester), told St. Louis Public Radio that the the waiting period is “common medical practice”, a statement unsupported by medical facts or the common experiences of women seeking abortion. The measure passed Tuesday would limit that to doctors who refer women to receive abortions or the physicians performing abortions. “Today is a great victory for pregnancy care centres that help women and children all over the state”, Governor Erik Greitens said in a statement according to the Associated Press. It said in part: “This emergency session was a political theater for a governor who cares more about grooming himself for higher office than the health and well-being of women across Missouri”. Another portion of the new rules would require all tissue removed during an abortion procedure to be sent to a pathologist for examination, rather than a “representative sample” of the tissue.

The bill, which will go into effect in late October, passed by a 22-9 vote and after a Democratic filibuster. Missouri already has some of the strictest abortion laws in the country. “The notion that this session has any benefit for patients’ health and safety is nonsense, and Missourians are smart enough to know that”, said Planned Parenthood’s Director of Policy and Organizing, M’Evie Mead. Democratic Sen. Jill Schupp said the changes “have been created to get in the way” of Planned Parenthood’s efforts to expand abortion services — now only in St. Louis — to Columbia, Joplin, Kansas City and Springfield, although she said it’s hard to tell at this point what impact the bill will have on the ability to open more abortion clinics. Senators also could try to reach a compromise with the House.

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