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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                            

Contact: Bonyen Lee-Gilmore, 913.345.4693

October 30, 2017

Kansas City - Just two weeks after Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains (PPGP) and Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region (RHS) filed a lawsuit challenging the same-physician mandate under Missouri’s SB5, they have filed a second lawsuit challenging a separately required “complication plan” under the newly enacted law. This so-called “complication plan”, cobbled together to fit the state’s extreme and ideological agenda to end abortion access, requires medication abortion providers to contract with a second OBGYN – even if the provider is an OBGYN – who also has hospital admitting privileges.

 

Not only has the Supreme Court of the United States already established hospital admitting privilege requirements are unconstitutional (Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt), but similar requirements in Missouri are already enjoined by federal appeals courts. This extreme attempt to halt the recent expansion of abortion services in Missouri has already created an undue burden on patients scheduled for medication abortion services in Columbia. Patients who choose medication abortion will now be forced to drive to  St. Louis or the Kansas City metro area to obtain their abortion pill. And for many of our patients in Columbia, this could make abortion entirely inaccessible, if they’re unable to afford additional time off of work and travel to the Kansas City metro area or St. Louis.

 

“This ‘complication plan’ flies in the face of our patients’ constitutional rights to safe, legal abortion services without undue burden. Yet, we find ourselves in court for the third time in one year, challenging clearly unconstitutional laws written by ideological extremists with one agenda - to end abortion access in Missouri,” Planned Parenthood Great Plains Interim President and CEO Aaron Samulcek said.

 

“Enough is enough. We will not sit on the sidelines while ideologues play regulatory games on the backs of Missouri women. The state’s treatment of Missouri women seeking sexual and reproductive health care is a disgrace and quickly turning into a national embarrassment. PPGP will not stop fighting for the countless patients who deserve just as much access to health care as any other American.”

 

One week ago, PPGP began providing abortion services in Columbia for the first time in nearly two years. It also expanded access to abortion in Midtown Kansas City within the past month. Together, the expansion has already served dozens of Missouri women, especially making a difference to those who already face challenges to care: young people, women of color, gender minorities, and low-income patients.

 

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Background

 

Senate Bill 5

  • SB5 was passed during Missouri’s extraordinary and expensive special session on abortion. It resulted in 30 pages worth of medically unnecessary and ideologically extreme abortion restrictions.
  • The same-physician mandate under SB5 is under legal challenge. It requires the abortion provider to also go through consent forms with the patient 72 hours before the procedure or before the pill is dispensed. This seemingly moderate restriction targets abortion providers who are already thinly stretched in a state that discourages physicians from providing abortion services by passing countless restrictions that do nothing to further the health and safety of women.
  • SB5 also requires a “complication plan” but does not provide specific details of what should be included in the plan. SB5 provides open-ended language that allows the state to craft a variety of rules under the plan, which now include a second OBGYN physician with hospital admitting privileges.

 

Hospital Admitting Privileges

  • Leading medical authorities like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Medical Association (AMA) have said hospital admitting privileges are medically unnecessary when it comes to abortion providers.
  • The Supreme Court of the United States, in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, agreed. It ruled hospital admitting privileges in Texas unconstitutional and burdensome to women seeking safe, legal abortion.
  • PPGP filed a lawsuit against Missouri’s hospital admitting privilege requirements when it comes to doctors who provide abortion services. A federal appeals court has blocked this requirement from being enforced.