Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have joined forces in Missouri, filing a lawsuit against the state over a recently passed abortion law.
Senate Bill 5, signed in July by Republican Governor Eric Greitens, “modifies several provisions relating to abortion,” including regulations in complication plans, consent to abortion procedures, tissue reports, Attorney General jurisdiction, the preemption of political subdivision authority regarding abortion, whistleblower protections, the definition of abortion facilities, inspections of abortion facilities, and the crime of interference with medical assistance.
The two groups are taking particular aim at the law’s requirement that a physician give state-mandated information to someone seeking an abortion 72 hours before said abortion would occur. They argue that this provision “severely restricts access to safe, legal abortion,” since prior to the law, any “qualified professional” could discuss this information.
“The same-physician requirement will impose extreme burdens on physicians who provide abortion services in Missouri, some of whom will not be able to comply at all,” states the lawsuit. “The Act will impose significant delays, greater medical risks, and other serious harms on patients, some of whom will be unable to access abortion at all.”
The law is scheduled to go into effect on October 24th, but the groups are asking for a preliminary injunction to delay the start date.
ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project Deputy Director Talcott Camp stated:
Last year, the Supreme Court held that a woman should be able to get safe abortion care without needless delays or burdens and with respect and dignity… This Missouri law flies in the face of that ruling, disregards women’s health, and places politicians between a woman and her health care.
The Planned Parenthood side of the lawsuit is being filed by the Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains and Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region.
The new law is being defended by the office of Missouri’s Attorney General, Josh Hawley. “SB5 enacts sensible regulations that protect the health of women in Missouri and it is our duty and privilege to vigorously defend them,” stated Loree Ann Paradise, deputy chief of staff.
The suit also contends that this new law would “violate Missourians’ due process rights under the state constitution.”
This is the latest development in the recent trend toward challenging pro-life Missouri abortion laws. Last week, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed Planned Parenthood to continue seeking licensing to perform abortions in key Missouri cities. This ruling is also being contested by Hawley.
Photo credit: American Life League via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0