Abortion | St. Louis Public Radio

Abortion

This story was updated at 9 a.m. Oct. 4 to add the comments of Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and Department of Health and Senior Services Director Dr. Randall Williams. 

A federal judge has declined – at least for now — to block a Missouri abortion law, leaving the state with just one abortion provider.

The law requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital or else face criminal prosecution. 

Abortion opponents stand on a street median as Planned Parenthood supporters march past the organization's Central West End clinic February 11, 2017.
File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

President Donald Trump’s newest nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court simply adds to the latest round of heightened political tensions in Missouri over reproductive rights and abortion.

And, as expected, it’s already become a key issue in the state’s closely watched U.S. Senate race. Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is making the Supreme Court confirmation the centerpiece of the Republican U.S. Senate candidate’s first TV ad, which began airing Monday.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill answers questions during a town hall at Harris-Stowe State University. Jan. 27, 2018
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies debut a new edition of the show — a weekly roundup of the big issues shaping Missouri’s election cycle.

A federal judge has declined to block a Missouri regulation governing medication abortions, although she found that the restriction “has virtually no benefit.”

Ruling in a case brought by the Planned Parenthood affiliates in Kansas City and St. Louis, U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips said the plaintiffs had not shown that the regulation “is a substantial burden to a large fraction of women seeking a medication abortion.”

In a case that has implications for Missouri, Planned Parenthood has asked a federal court for a restraining order to block an Arkansas law that effectively bans medication abortions. 

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up Planned Parenthood's challenge to the law, which requires abortion providers to contract with back-up physicians with hospital admitting privileges. Planned Parenthood says it has sought in vain to find such physicians

Abortion opponents stand on a street median as Planned Parenthood supporters march past the organization's Central West End clinic February 11, 2017.
File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

House Republicans are giving priority to bills that would place further restrictions on abortions as the 2018 session begins winding down.

First, the House on Tuesday passed legislation designed to ban abortions on fetuses capable of feeling physical pain, which would in effect ban most of them at 20 weeks. GOP Rep. Keith Frederick of Rolla, who’s a medical doctor, spoke in favor of the bill.

Students at Maplewood Richmond Heights remember the victims of the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
File Photo| Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Since the fatal shooting of students in Florida in February, many young activists have organized walkouts, rallies and calls to action. On March 24, young people all over the country will take to the streets again in a nationwide rally they’re calling “March For Our Lives.”

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with local students involved in myriad causes they are passionate about to discuss youth’s role in activism.

A volunteer with Coalition for Life St. Louis, an anti-abortion group, waves as a car exits the Planned Parenthood parking lot on Forest Park Avenue. Volunteers hand out anti-abortion pamphlets to passers-by.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated March 9 at 1:50 p.m. with second delay — Supporters of a bill that would keep protesters away from the driveway at Planned Parenthood's Central West End clinic will have one more chance to send it to Mayor Lyda Krewson.

The sponsor of the so-called "buffer zones" again delayed a vote on the bill at the St. Louis Board of Aldermen Friday because not enough "yes" votes were in attendance. The board is off until April 16, the last day of the current session If members cannot get enough votes that day, they will have to start over.

Original story from March 2

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will wait at least another week to take a final vote on additional protection for women seeking services from the Planned Parenthood clinic in the Central West End.

A volunteer with Coalition for Life St. Louis, an anti-abortion group, waves as a car exits the Planned Parenthood parking lot on Forest Park Avenue. Volunteers hand out anti-abortion pamphlets to passers-by.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It soon could be harder for opponents of Planned Parenthood to get their message to people going to the St. Louis Central West End clinic.

On a 15-13 vote, St. Louis Aldermen gave the measure, sponsored by Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia, D-6th Ward, first-round approval on Friday. It sets up an 8-foot buffer zone around health care facilities.

A volunteer with Coalition for Life St. Louis protests outside Planned Parenthood on Forest Park Avenue.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Protesters trying to speak to patients getting care at Planned Parenthood’s clinic in the Central West End would have to do so from farther away under a bill approved Wednesday by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen’s public safety committee.

Abortion rights advocates, including NARAL Missouri and Planned Parenthood, have been trying to pass a so-called buffer zone for nearly 14 months. The full board could take its first vote on the legislation next week.

Missouri Supreme Court building
David Shane | Flickr

Can a woman who disagrees that life begins at conception exempt herself from Missouri’s informed consent laws around abortion?

The state Supreme Court is considering that question following oral arguments on Tuesday. But first, they have to consider whether the woman, identified as Mary Doe in court documents, has made a strong enough legal argument to avoid having the case thrown out.

A Jackson County judge on Monday declined to block a Missouri law requiring abortion physicians to meet with their patients three days before the procedure.

In rejecting a challenge to the law by Missouri’s two Planned Parenthood affiliates, Jackson County Circuit Judge S. Margene Burnett found that the requirement did not impose an “undue burden” on women seeking an abortion.

Just two weeks before new regulations on Missouri abortion providers would take effect, the state’s Planned Parenthood affiliates are challenging the provisions in state court.

The same day a federal appeals court overruled itself and voted to block two Missouri abortion restrictions, the state advised Missouri abortion providers that they will have to abide by a new restriction.

A memo dated Oct. 2 from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) says the agency will file emergency rules on Oct. 24 establishing standards for “complication plans” for medication-induced abortions.

WBEZ

Abortions will be covered by state health insurance and Medicaid under a bill that Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed Thursday.

“No woman should be forced to make a different decision than another woman would make purely based on income,” the Republican said during a news conference, after which he signed the measure privately.

He is running for re-election in 2018, and the move could prompt Republicans to put up a challenger in the primary.

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Two of Missouri’s abortion restrictions are again being challenged on religious grounds in court by a member of the Satanic Temple.

The state Court of Appeals will hear arguments Monday on whether a woman, identified in court documents as Mary Doe, should have been allowed to opt out of the state’s 72-hour waiting period and its informed consent laws. A Cole County circuit judge threw out the case of in December, saying she had not made a strong enough argument.

Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, and Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, discuss abortion regulations on the Senate floor on Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 3 p.m. on Wednesday with information about Greitens signing the bill: JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Physicians will have to meet with women seeking abortions three days before the procedure and Missouri’s attorney general will have the ability to enforce abortion laws under the bill that Gov. Eric Greitens signed into law on Wednesday.

Greitens spokesman Parker Briden confirmed that the Republican governor signed Sen. Andrew Koenig's bill into law on Wednesday afternoon. Koenig's bill, which will go into effect in late October, passed on Tuesday by a 22-9 vote and came after a Democratic filibuster. Supporters say the legislation will make clinics safer, while critics contend it will make it harder for women to obtain abortions. The legislation may also complicate Planned Parenthood’s bid to expand throughout the state.

Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester, listens to debate Monday, July 24, 2017. Koenig is sponsoring abortion-restriction legislation in the special session.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 7:15 p.m. July 24 with Senate reconvening — The Missouri General Assembly’s special session dealing with new abortion restrictions resumed Monday, though senators declined to take immediate action on Sen. Andrew Koenig’s bill. Several Republican senators were absent, which meant there weren’t enough votes to kill a Democratic filibuster.

Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester, July 2017
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back Sen. Andrew Koenig to the program.

Koenig is a Manchester Republican and the main sponsor of abortion legislation that’s being considered in the Missouri legislature’s current (though interrupted) special session. Senators are expected to return on Monday.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens speaks with reporters after touring Our Lady's Inn, a St. Louis pregnancy center for women experiencing homelessness, on June 8, 2017.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

One of the main reasons Gov. Eric Greitens called a second special session was because of a St. Louis anti-discrimination ordinance dealing with women’s reproductive choices. Media outlets, including St. Louis Public Radio, have stated that Republican Sen. Andrew Koenig’s bill would completely overturn that law.

But that’s not the view of Koenig, Greitens’ office or the Democratic sponsor of the city law. They all agree the bill would prevent the law from being enforced against pregnancy resource centers that discourage women from having abortions.

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