House Democratic Minority Leader Crystal Quade [2018 file photo].
A statement from Missouri House Democratic Minority Leader Crystal Quade:
House Minority Caucus
Rep. Crystal Quade
Revelations about health department director unsettling
“The revelation that Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director Randall Williams used the power of his position to personally track the menstrual periods of Planned Parenthood patients is deeply disturbing. State law requires the health department director to be ‘of recognized character and integrity.’ This unsettling behavior calls into question whether Doctor Williams meets that high standard. Governor Parson must immediately investigate whether patient privacy was compromised or laws broken and determine if this is a person who Missourians can be comfortable having in a position of public trust.”
House Minority Leader Crystal Quade
Tracking menstrual periods. That’s going to go over really well with your average Missourian, don’t you think?
ST. LOUIS — Today, a U.S. District Court judge in the Western District of Missouri granted a preliminary injunction, blocking several provisions of Missouri’s sweeping abortion bans passed earlier this year. The blocked bans, which would have made abortion illegal starting at eight weeks, would have taken effect tomorrow. This lawsuit challenges a law that created an unprecedented number of bans at once, at nearly every stage of pregnancy, which is part of a multi-layered effort by state politicians to push abortion out of reach for 1.1 million Missourians of reproductive age. The provision the court allowed to take effect, at least at this preliminary stage, blocks patients from seeking an abortion based on race, gender, or Down syndrome diagnosis. Missouri is now one of eight states that force doctors to investigate why their patients are making a deeply personal medical decision. The court indicated openness to reviewing the issue again on a renewed motion.
In May, emboldened by the Trump administration, Gov. Mike Parson signed House Bill 126, which imposes a series of draconian abortion bans and medically unnecessary restrictions designed to make it impossible for patients to access abortion. Last month, Planned Parenthood, along with partners at the ACLU and law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, took the state of Missouri to court over the clearly unconstitutional abortion bans. With only one abortion provider left in the state, access is left hanging by a thread.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, Acting President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America: “Today’s decision blocks a harmful law that bans abortion before many know they’re pregnant. What little abortion access in Missouri is left will stay in place for the time being. In the meantime, we cannot ignore the part of this law that remains in place, which allows politicians to interfere with the patient-provider relationship. Let’s be very clear: these severe restrictions on abortion access do nothing to address disability rights or discrimination. They only stigmatize abortion and shame the people who seek that care. Planned Parenthood won’t cower to politicians. We will continue fighting in court and working with every person to ensure they get the health care they need and deserve.”
Statement from Dr. Colleen McNicholas, Chief Medical Officer, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region: “Abortion access has once again been protected in Missouri by the courts, but only for some. Although the judge recognized the merits of our case, he has also allowed parts of the law to go into effect. While most people seeking abortion will thankfully still be able to do so, allowing the reason ban to take effect will have a measurable impact. It requires physicians to interrogate patients and, in turn, destroys the foundation of trust essential in a health care setting. Missourians do not need or want politicians in their exam rooms. My patients deserve access to high-quality abortion care, and they deserve the space to make those decisions based on their values, life circumstances, support system, and faith, free of government scrutiny. Although we are grateful today’s ruling allows us to provide care to some Missourians, we will continue to defend the truth: EVERY reason to have an abortion is a valid reason.”
Statement from Andrew Beck, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project: “Today’s decision affirms that abortion is still a constitutional right — and we will do everything possible to keep it that way. This fight isn’t over until everyone who needs an abortion in Missouri can get one.”
Statement from Tony Rothert, Legal Director, ACLU-Missouri: “House Bill 126 is an offensive intrusion into private medical decision-making that would have jeopardized the health and well-being of Missourians in need of abortion care. This law put politicians at the center of a deeply personal decision that belongs to a pregnant person and those they trust most: their family and health care providers — not the government. We applaud the decision of the court to uphold the Constitution and stop HB 126.”
Missouri is one of 12 states to pass an abortion ban just in the first half of this year. State politicians, emboldened by President Trump, have passed a total of 26 abortion bans nationwide in 2019 alone. With Justice Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, anti-abortion politicians are racing to pass bills designed to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Anti-abortion politicians in Missouri have spent decades eroding reproductive health care. As a result, Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region is the last remaining health center in the state that still provides abortion. Gov. Parson signed this sweeping abortion ban into law while weaponizing the state’s licensing process. Parson said his goal was to make Missouri the “most pro-life state in America.”
It is not new for politicians in Missouri or elsewhere to use a combination of state laws and regulatory harassment to target abortion providers — in fact, Missouri already used similar targeting to block the only other health center in the state that provided abortions from continuing to do so in 2018. Parson’s administration forced more than 100 patients to undergo medically unnecessary pelvic exams before abruptly rescinding the requirement. That’s on top of dozens of medically unnecessary restrictions that make abortion nearly impossible to access. These restrictions include a 72-hour mandatory delay for patients accessing abortion, which forces patients to make two trips to the health center, and demanding abortion providers hold local hospital admitting privileges. This, despite the fact that support for access to abortion in America is at an all-time high — and growing.
While the state is cutting off access to abortion, maternal and reproductive health in the state is in crisis. Maternal mortality rates in Missouri are more than 50 percent higher than the national average, and a syphilis outbreak is sweeping the state. The same politicians who claim to value “life” continue to sit idly by while public health outcomes worsen.
HB 126, brought to you by:
Governor Mike Parson (r) [2018 file photo].
Wire coathangers on the fence at the Governor’s Mansion in Jefferson City – June 2, 2019.
Today, the Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC) granted Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region a stay against a license denial that would have blocked abortion services at the last health center in the state to provide this care. The court and now the AHC have blocked the Department of Health and Senior Services’ unlawful decision denying Planned Parenthood a license to operate while the case is pending. For now, safe, legal abortion remains accessible at the St. Louis health center. Supporters, activists, and advocates will gather on the Eads Bridge at 4:30 p.m. CT today to celebrate this victory. They will drop a banner that sends a strong message to Gov. Parson and DHSS Director Randall Williams.
Statement from Dr. Colleen McNicholas, OBGYN, Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region:
“We are relieved to have this last-minute reprieve, which means patients can continue accessing safe, legal abortion at Planned Parenthood in St. Louis for the time being. This has been a week-to-week fight for our patients and every Missourian who needs access to abortion care. There are two things that remain unchanged in Missouri: the uncertainty our patients face, and our will to continue fighting for their right to access safe, legal abortion.
“Patients should never have to worry that they may lose access to health care tomorrow because of a politically driven campaign to end abortion access. Yet, here we are, facing this reality week after week because of Gov. Parson’s agenda to ban abortion. It is unjust and cruel, and as the court and now the Administrative Commission Hearing recognize, unlawful. Planned Parenthood will continue responding to these political attacks on reproductive rights and health care with unrelenting vigor. Because abortion is health care and every person deserves the right and freedom to decide when and whether to be pregnant — no matter what.”
Court Blocks State’s Egregious Actions that would have Left Missouri as the First State Since 1974 Without a Health Center that Provides Abortion
Court Allows Health Center to Continue Services for Now — Sets Another Court Date
St. Louis – Today, the Circuit Court of St. Louis stepped in to protect the last remaining health center in Missouri that provides abortion — for now. The judge today issued a Temporary Restraining Order against the state of Missouri, allowing Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region (RHS) — the last remaining health center in Missouri that provides abortion — to continue to provide abortion for the time being. The ruling means that abortion services will continue in the state for now. The judge also set another hearing on Tuesday, June 4.
Statement of Dr. Leana Wen, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“Today is a victory for women across Missouri, but this fight is far from over. We have seen just how vulnerable access to abortion care is here—and in the rest of the country. We are glad that the governor has been prevented from putting women’s health and lives in danger—for now—and call on him to stop this egregious politicalization of public health in an attempt to ban all safe, legal abortion care in the state.
“We want our patients to know that we will never abandon the women of Missouri. We will keep fighting these attempts to end access to health care, to ensure all people can get the care that they need—no matter what.”
Statement of Dr. Colleen McNicholas, OB-GYN, Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region:
“This is a huge sigh of relief for the many patients who need access to safe, legal abortion in Missouri. The fight goes on. While temporary, we celebrate today, and tomorrow we go back to work to ensure access to abortion does not go dark at the last health center that provides abortion in Missouri. Planned Parenthood has served Missouri for more than 87 years and we aren’t going anywhere. While Governor Parson abandoned our patients, we will not. Our doors are open today, our doors will be open tomorrow, and we will fight to make sure all patients continue to receive the care they need and deserve.”
On Tuesday, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and RHS announced they expected the state health department to block services at the state’s last remaining health center that provides abortion by refusing to renew its license to provide abortion services — a move that would have left 1.1 million women of reproductive age in Missouri without a health center in their state that provided abortion.
RHS filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of St. Louis on Tuesday asking for a Temporary Restraining Order against the state’s egregious actions. Today’s ruling means that abortion services in Missouri are protected — for now.
It is not new for politicians in Missouri or elsewhere to use a combination of state laws and regulatory harassment to target abortion providers — in fact, Missouri already used similar targeting to block the only other health center in the state that provided abortions from continuing to do so in 2018. Last week, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed one of the nation’s most restrictive abortion bills, which bans abortion at nearly every stage of pregnancy and also adds more medically unnecessary abortion restrictions. Missouri’s long list of medically unnecessary restrictions are no longer just targeting clinics they are directly impacting patients and their right to evidence based healthcare free from harassment. Missouri’s demand that doctors perform invasive and medically unnecessary pelvic exams on patients is a clear indication that they have no regard for the wellbeing of their citizens. The medical literature is clear: restrictions including a 72-hour mandatory delay for patients accessing abortion that requires patients to make two trips to the health center, and demanding that abortion providers hold local hospital admitting privileges have no basis in science.
Already, 1 in 3 women of reproductive age lives in a state where abortion could be outlawed if Roe is overturned. That’s over 25 million people. While abortion bans impact everyone who can become pregnant, they hit people of color and those who are struggling to make ends meet the hardest — the people who already face barriers to accessing good health care. While those with wealth may be able to find a way around abortion bans, far too many people — especially those who already face racism, homophobia, and transphobia — will be left with no options at all.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region provides options counseling, pregnancy testing, abortion care and other reproductive services for thousands of people in Missouri, Illinois and across the region each year. Our highly-trained physicians and medical staff provide expert care in a supportive setting, no matter what. [….]
Jefferson City Today, Governor Mike Parson issued the following statement after the 22nd Circuit Court of St. Louis, Missouri, issued a temporary restraining order:
“Following today’s ruling, the State will soon have the opportunity for a prompt legal review of our state health regulators’ serious health and safety concerns regarding Planned Parenthood’s abortion facility in St. Louis. We are committed to and take seriously our duty to ensure that all health facilities in Missouri follow the law, abide by regulations, and protect the safety of patients.”
Well, that was lame. “Shut it down” didn’t work, eh? Yet.
“Serious health and safety concerns”? Really. Okay. What are they? Why aren’t those concerns listed in this press release?
Planned Parenthood Action @PPact
BREAKING: A state court just issued temporary relief to block Missouri from eliminating abortion access in the state. This ruling means that abortion services will continue in the state — for now.
[….] 1:24 PM – 31 May 2019
Planned Parenthood @PPFA
BREAKING: Missouri could soon become the first state in the country to have no health center that provides safe, legal abortion, leaving more than a million people in a situation we haven’t seen since Roe v. Wade.
Planned Parenthood shooter ‘happy’ with his attack
Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY Published 9:30 p.m. ET April 11, 2016 | Updated 7:14 a.m. ET April 12, 2016
“….[Robert] Dear was carrying four Soviet-style SKS semi-automatic rifles, and shot from inside the clinic at propane tanks he’d set out as improvised bombs, although they didn’t explode as planned…”
Yesterday, via Twitter from Representative Stacey Newman (D):
And I’m with my #moleg seatmate and my Congressman @LacyClayMO1! #BanAssaultWeapons
[….] 12:52 PM – 2 Mar 2018
A response from a republican staffer:
Tom Estes @TomJEstes
Should we ban the assault weapons used at Planned Parenthood? #moleg
[….] 3:49 PM – 2 Mar 2018
Christian. Man. Husband. Father. Preacher. Conservative. Pro-Life. Traditional marriage. #MOLeg Senate Staffer. God’s opinion is supreme. Personal Account.
Jefferson City, MO
There were a number of “Our Lives on the Line” rallies supporting Medicaid, Medicare and the ACA across the country today. The rally in Tucson started at 10:00 a.m., in the July morning heat, with over thirty individuals attending.
OFA, Planned Parenthood, and LUCHA were among the sponsoring organizations.
“Our Lives On the Line” rally, Rudy Garcia Park, Tucson, Arizona, July 29, 2017.
There are thousands of health care stories:
Much like the Indivisible events in Kansas and Missouri, many attending these rallies tell their health care stories.