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Missouri Could Become the First State With Zero Abortion Providers by the End of This Week

Protestors participate in a rally against one of the nation's most restrictive bans on abortions

The last remaining abortion clinic in the entire state on Missouri could be shut down by the end of this week, making the state the first in the country to have no abortion providers since Roe v Wade declared abortion to be a constitutionally protected right. Planned Parenthood says the Missouri Health Department is refusing to renew the St. Louis location’s annual license. The Department reportedly had three issues that needed to be resolved, and the clinic agreed to two of them: making an adjustment to the state-mandated counseling provided and including an extra pelvic exam for abortion patients.

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But the department also wanted officials to interview the physicians who provide care at the clinic, as part of an investigation into unspecified “deficient practices.” Planned Parenthood was able to grant interviews with two of those physicians but the other five are medical residents, not Planned Parenthood employees, and they did not consent to the interviews. That’s not surprising, since according to PP, the state had indicated that those interviews could lead to criminal proceedings or board review for the physicians. The back-and-forth between Planned Parenthood and the Department of Health has apparently been going on for weeks, but the clinic’s license is set to expire this Friday, May 31st and it doesn’t look like a resolution is coming.

If that license expires, the entire state will go dark. The St. Louis Planned Parenthood will still be able to offer other health services, but there will not be a single safe and legal abortion provider in all of Missouri.

This comes just days after Missouri’s governor, Mike Parson, signed the state’s 8-week abortion ban into law. This is a state that has more than 70 fake “pregnancy crisis centers”–the places that trick pregnant people into thinking they’re getting medical care and then bombard them with anti-abortion propaganda and straight-up lies–but soon to be zero actual abortion providers.

Planned Parenthood and other activist organizations aren’t giving up.

Missouri’s lawmakers are relentless in their war on reproductive rights. Things like implicitly threatening doctors with criminal proceedings, mandatory waiting periods, and cutoffs based on junk science are all backdoor bans, a way to circumvent the Supreme Court’s ruling that abortion is a constitutional right. Planned Parenthood is suing. Activist organizations like the Gateway Women’s Access Fund are still fighting to make sure everyone who needs it has access to safe and legal abortion services.

No one in Missouri is giving up their constitutional and human right to abortion without one hell of a fight.

Take a second to sign a Planned Parenthood petition to stop Missouri’s war on reproductive health, if you’re able and willing.

(image: Julie Bennett/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.

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