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Abortion restrictions take effect

A Circuit Court Judge in Jackson County Missouri blocked a motion by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, a move the groups say will limit and hinder access to abortions for Missouri women.

The motion was for a temporary restraining order on a part of Senate Bill 5 that would require a woman to have the same doctor throughout her abortion counseling and procedure. Senate Bill 5 was passed and signed into law during the second special session called over summer by Gov. Eric Greitens.

“Our registered nurses, our LPNs, our advanced practitioners, are highly qualified individuals,” Bonyen Lee-Gilmore with Planned Parenthood Great Plains said. “Their ability to talk to patients and help them understand risks and complication plans and how a procedure is going to go is extremely knowledgeable. They have the ability to do so just like in any other medical field.”

The mandate requires the same physician who will provide the abortion to also provide the required information at least 72 hours prior. Previously, women could visit a local health center for the first visit. Planned Parenthood claims this can block many women from accessing care at all and could cause extreme delays, especially for women in rural areas. “Women in areas like Springfield will be forced to make a 300- to 400-mile round trip twice to a health center that provides abortion, rather than making their initial visit at a local health center (as they could prior to this law),” Planned Parenthood wrote in a statement.

“The judge referred to the ‘same physician mandate’ as a moderate restriction,” Lee-Gilmore said. “I think what’s important to remember here is abortion access isn’t attacked in one-fell-swoop. Abortion access is going to become completely in accessible because of these seemingly moderate restrictions that are passed year by year, year after year in the last 20 years.”

Attorney General Josh Hawley released a statement reading, “I am very pleased with today’s ruling. SB5 enacts sensible regulations that protect the health of women in Missouri and we will continue to vigorously defend these.”

“This is not about the health and safety of our patients,” Lee-Gilmore said. “If anybody prioritizes health and safety of patients it’s Planned Parenthood. This is about passing restrictions in order to make abortion inaccessible. Anybody who tried to argue this is for the well being of patients is just pushing a talking point in order to push an extreme ideology.”

Planned Parenthood said it will continue to provide abortion services in Missouri and will continue their its against Senate Bill 5.

“This is just one more restriction on a very layered approach to ending abortion access in Missouri,” Lee-Gilmore said.

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