Thousands of women have safely ended pregnancies at this clinic since it opened in 1987. Conservative lawmakers in Missouri say abortion patients deserve better.
They have enacted the most far-reaching regulations in the nation -- dictating the physical layout, staffing and record-keeping policies of any facility that performs five or more abortions a month, including private doctors' offices that regularly prescribe the abortion pill.
The law, which a federal judge is to review today, would force the immediate closure of at least two of Missouri's three abortion clinics, plus a private medical practice near St. Louis run by a doctor who offers first-trimester terminations in his office. Those facilities would need extensive renovations to comply with the law; the requirements could include widening hallways, raising ceilings, installing locker rooms, rerouting plumbing, and creating surgical suites stocked with emergency resuscitation equipment, even when no surgery is performed on-site.
"We're applying the same standards of healthcare to abortion clinics as we are to other medical facilities," said Pam Fichter, development director of Missouri Right to Life.
So ostensibly, the purpose of this bill is to make abortion safer. What it will actually do is make an abortion much more difficult to obtain. This is the bill's purpose of course, as Gov. Matt Blunt admitted when he said the bill was "one of the strongest pieces of pro-life legislation in Missouri history" as he was signing it in a Baptist church. As the article explains, this new strategy may prove to the means by which anti-abortion activists attack abortion in other states as well. Not that the underground campaign hasn't already done it's work; note above that Missouri has only three clinics that provide an abortion in the whole state. Three, in a state in a country where a woman is supposedly guaranteed the right to choose. Thus, a woman may choose an abortion...she just may not be able to get one.
Make no mistake, the attack on availability is the single greatest threat to the right of a woman to have an abortion in this country today, and pro-choicers are quite simply losing the battle.