Planned Parenthood to reinstate abortion services in Kansas City

LISA JOHNSTON | lisajohnston@archstl.org

Planned Parenthood has announced it is reinstating abortion services in Kansas City, Mo., much to the disappointment of pro-life advocates.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services recently issued a license to provide abortion services at the Midtown Kansas City health center. The clinic will be offering medication abortions.

Abortion services also are expected to be restored at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Columbia, Mo., in the "coming days," according to a statement from Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains.

The announcement comes on the heels of a new law passed by the Missouri General Assembly during a summer special session. The law, which is expected to go into effect Oct. 24, will require abortion clinics to be licensed and ensure care for women injured by abortion. Clinics also will be required to be inspected annually and must have a plan in place for managing medical emergencies.

Deacon Sam lee, a longtime pro-life lobbyist with Campaign Life Missouri, said he is disappointed, but not surprised by the move. He said he is hopeful that Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, will quickly promulgate rules for the regulation of the new law.

"Abortion is not health care, and chemical abortions can cause an increased risk of hemorrhage and complications requiring hospitalization," Deacon Lee said. "The women of Missouri deserve these protections.

"We pray for the protection of women considering abortion, as well as for their unborn children whose lives are at risk," he said. "We know that the many pregnancy care centers already established in Missouri will continue to provide counseling and resources to promote life for pregnant moms and babies."

Last year, after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Texas pro-life laws requiring abortion doctors to have local hospital privileges and clinics to be licensed as ambulatory surgical centers, Planned Parenthood vowed it would reopen abortion clinics in Kansas City and Columbia, as well as in Springfield and Joplin, Mo.

In April, U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood's challenge of those laws. Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has appealed the decision. Hawley's office wrote to the appeals' court Sept. 8 with notice of the "imminent change" of status in the Kansas City abortion clinic's license.

"It's disappointing, but we will continue working to close down the abortion industry," said Mike Hoey, executive director of the Missouri Catholic Conference. "There will be new regulations based on the new law, so we'll see whether they can comply or not."

Reagan Barklage, western regional director for Students for Life of America, said she was "extremely disappointed" with the news, adding that "the reason that they weren't open before is because they didn't meet basic safety standards compared to other surgical centers. That's not showing respect for women, and I think that women deserve better.

The Kansas City facility is close to Rockhurst University and St. Theresa's Academy, an all-girls Catholic high school, which Barklage said is a clear indication "the abortion industry is targeting our generation. Fortunately, we have a pro-life generation that won't stand for it."

Expanding abortion services will only hurt more women, said Karen Nolkemper, executive director of the archdiocesan Respect Life Apostolate. Post-abortive women who call the apostolate's Project Rachel ministry "are in real pain — whether it's physical, emotional, mental or spiritual pain," she said.

While it's heartbreaking, Nolkemper said she remains hopeful, because "I know life wins in the end." 

Options brochure

The Respect Life Apostolate offers an Options brochure, a guide to local resources for pregnant women, including resource centers and maternity homes, many of which provide food, clothing, financial assistance, counseling, shelter and job training.

For more information on the brochure, visit www.STLrespectlife.org or call (314) 792-7555.

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