Last month, I wrote about a new Missouri law that would enforce stricter requirements on abortion clinics, forcing two Planned Parenthood clinics to undergo costly renovations to, among other things, increase their hall widths. Planned Parenthood has now filed a lawsuit to strike down the law. Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri says that the renovations are medically unnecessary, prohibitively expensive and would require them to close their Kansas City and Columbia clinics temporarily for renovations, or possibly even permanently. Even worse, that would leave St. Louis as the only location of an abortion provider in the entire state.
Missouri already requires abortion facilities to be licensed, but because of the definition of an abortion facility – requiring abortions to generate half its revenues or patients – the St. Louis Planned Parenthood clinic has been the only facility in Missouri actually regulated as an abortion clinic.
The new law pulls more clinics under the state’s umbrella by requiring any facility that performs more than five first-trimester abortions a month, or any second- or third-trimester abortions, to meet the licensure requirements for an “ambulatory surgical center.”
Among the new requirements noted in the lawsuit: outpatient surgery centers must have halls at least 6 feet wide and doors at least 44 inches wide; there must be separate male and female changing rooms for personnel; and a recovery room with space for at least four beds with 3 feet of clearance around each.
The Columbia clinic performs first-trimester surgical abortions, as well as medically induced abortions. The Kansas City office offers only medically induced abortions.
Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Michelle Trupiano said it would cost about $600,000 to renovate its Columbia clinic. The organization contends that because both facilities already exist, they should be exempt from meeting the new physical requirements.
The best of luck to them.