Abortion | St. Louis Public Radio

Abortion

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The University of Missouri’s nursing school in Columbia has signed agreements with two Planned Parenthood clinics to allow nursing students to obtain some of their training in women’s health services.

A university spokesman said the agreements are not contracts, but will enable three students who requested it to perform their clinical training at Planned Parenthood.

Attorney General Chris Koster, left, and Missouri Sen. Tom Dempsey have announced separate investigations of Planned Parenthood operations in the state.
official photos

Underscoring the political power of the abortion issue in Missouri, Attorney General Chris Koster’s announcement that he has “opened an investigation into whether Planned Parenthood clinics in Missouri have violated state law” touched off a series of actions on both sides.

Patients entering the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis are often greeted by a line of protesters.
File photo | Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis area Planned Parenthood, which operates Missouri’s only abortion clinic, says its facility isn’t affected by allegations that Planned Parenthood nationally may have sold organs and other tissue from aborted fetuses for profit.

Abortion-related tissue may be donated for research purposes, with the patient's permission, but it is illegal to sell the material for profit.

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin
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Two committees of the Republican-led House of Representatives will look into whether a clip of video shows an official with Planned Parenthood discussing the sale of human organs from aborted fetuses.

Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, is one of several lawmakers asking both the House Judiciary Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee to investigate allegations made by an anti-abortion group.

For Loretto Wagner, the effort to end abortion was more than a cause. It was her life.

Wagner, one of the major figures in Missouri’s early anti-abortion movement, died late Wednesday at the age of 81.

She was the mother of Ray Wagner, an executive at Enterprise Holdings, and the mother-in-law of U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, a Republican from Ballwin.

A new report shows Missouri's unintended pregnancy rate has dropped. Some researchers say it could be due to increased usage of long-lasting contraceptives like IUDs.
(Via Wikimedia Commons/Victor byckttor)

A new study released Monday shows Missouri saw a significant decrease in unintended pregnancies in recently measured years.

St. Louis had a large contingent at the March for Life in D.C.
Jim Howard | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

The Missouri General Assembly may be taking a break from handling major anti-abortion legislation, but that’s not necessarily true in Washington – and that could have an impact on Missouri’s 2018 contest for the U.S. Senate.

The drama in the U.S. House centered on its decision to drop plans to vote Thursday on an abortion ban after 20 weeks, as thousands of abortion opponents participated in the annual March for Life to mark the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing most abortions.

Students at Saint Raphael the Archangel School prepare to leave Wednesday for the March for Life in Washington, D.C.
Courtesy Saint Raphael, via Twitter

The St. Louis Archdiocese is sending a record number of young people to Thursday's annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., since it first began its coordinated "Generation Life" pilgrimage to the event three years ago.

Mary Kogut
Provided by Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri

The region’s Planned Parenthood affiliate, which operates Missouri’s only abortion clinic, has announced a new chief executive to replace long-time president Paula Gianino, who is retiring.

Mary Kogut, currently vice president of patient services, will take over on Jan. 8 as the new president and CEO for Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.

Kogut has been with the agency for 34 years. She was chosen after a year-long search, said Shanti Parikh, the agency’s board chairman.

Adrian Clark | Flickr

For the past eight years, Missouri has had a 24-hour wait rule for abortions: Women seeking to end a pregnancy must visit a clinic for an initial health consultation before waiting 24 hours to have the procedure.

On Friday, a new state law goes into effect that triples the wait time. The law includes no exemptions for rape or incest, which is one reason Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, vetoed it. But the state legislature last month overrode his veto.

Paula Gianino is president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.
Provided

   A new Missouri state law requiring women to wait 72 hours to have an abortion after their initial consultation is set to take effect Friday, and the state’s only abortion provider says it will not immediately appeal the measure in court.

President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, Paula Gianino, said attorneys for their national organization did not think an appeal would be successful in state or federal court.

James Cridland via Flickr

Legal questions surrounding Michael Brown’s death and events in Ferguson again dominated the conversation among our legal roundtable.

Justice Department Investigations

The Justice Department has three roles in Ferguson, said William Freivogel, director of the school of journalism at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. First: A criminal investigation, independent of the state’s investigation.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

In what’s becoming something of a post-veto session tradition, Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum to discuss the impact of the General Assembly's annual event.

  The St. Charles Republican leads the 23-member Republican caucus in the Missouri Senate. And this past week, his chamber participated in votes to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s vetoes of 10 standalone bills and 47 line-item vetoes of spending items in the current budget.

(via Flickr/Jennifer Boriss)

(Updated 12:15 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 11)

The Missouri General Assembly has made the state the third in the country to require a 72-hour waiting period before a woman can obtain an abortion, after the state Senate killed off a filibuster.

The Senate voted 23-7 – along party lines -- to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of the bill, but only after deploying a procedural action that it hadn’t used in seven years to end a Democratic filibuster that had gone on for about two hours.

Parth Shah/St. Louis Public Radio

Let’s not mince any words: If he's elected later this year, neither St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley nor Councilman Steve Stenger will have any power to alter Missouri’s abortion policies. 

The county executive essentially has no authority to enact or repeal restrictions on abortion – the state does. And it’s highly unlikely that Stenger's or Dooley’s power of persuasion will change the course of a Missouri legislature overwhelmingly opposed to abortion rights.

Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

This story was updated following St. Louis on the Air.

Former U.S. Rep. Todd Akin is back, and he’s not sorry.

Two years after losing a contest for U.S. Senate and igniting a “war on women” debate with a comment about rape, Akin has written a book that offers behind-the-scenes details about how he, his campaign and his family coped.

In an August 2012 interview with Charles Jaco on KTVI (Channel 2), Akin was asked about abortion and rape. Akin, who is staunchly anti-abortion, said that a pregnancy from rape “is really rare.”

/ File photo

(Updated 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 2)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed a bill that would have tripled the state’s waiting period for an abortion to 72 hours, saying it reflected  “a callous disregard for women who find themselves in horrific circumstances.”

The governor noted in Wednesday’s veto message that the bill, HB 1307, had no exceptions for rape or incest.

“This extreme and disrespectful measure would unnecessarily prolong the suffering of rape and incest victims and jeopardize the health and wellbeing of women,” Nixon said Wednesday.

Governments cannot ban anti-abortion "sidewalk counselors" from a 35-foot buffer zone that includes the sidewalk in front of an abortion clinic unless the governments first have tried less restrictive methods of protecting women from face-to-face intimidation as they enter reproductive health facilities.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 11:40 a.m Thursday, May 15)

After more than an hour of emotional – and often loud – debate, the Missouri House voted to send to the governor a bill that would triple Missouri’s waiting period for abortions to 72 hours from 24 hours.

If approved by Gov. Jay Nixon, the measure would make Missouri only the third state in the nation to mandate a 72-hour wait – and possibly set the stage for a legal challenge.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Republicans in the Missouri Senate succeeded in passing two of their top priorities early Tuesday morning.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

For at least 35 years, Missouri has been one of the major battlefields in the ongoing fight over reproductive rights, contraception and abortion.

Based on the last few weeks in Jefferson City, not much has changed.

“Missouri is one of the really hot states, when it comes to abortion restrictions this year,’’ said Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager with the Guttmacher Institute, a research group advocating sexual and reproductive health rights.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Legislation that would require a 72-hour waiting period for abortions is moving forward in the Missouri House, while its Senate counterpart is stalled.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Medical personnel who wish to opt out of participating in procedures that violate their religious or personal beliefs are one step closer to being allowed to do so legally in Missouri.

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Tuesday morning, thousands of Missourians — many of them from the St. Louis area — are following a decades-old tradition and boarding buses for an all-night bus ride to Washington.

On Wednesday, the Missouri contingent will join tens of thousands of others from around the country for the annual March for Life in the nation’s capital to protest the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing most abortions.

Paula Gianino is president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.
Provided

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Paula Gianino  has been the regional head of Planned Parenthood for almost a quarter of a century. She plans to step down in a year, according to an announcement late Wednesday by the organization’s board.

Gianino’s retirement in January 2015 would mark her 25th anniversary of the medical organization.

Sen. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Missouri Rep. Paul Wieland and his lawyer see nothing but good news in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to hear Hobby Lobby’s challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that all insurance policies cover contraceptives as of Jan. 1.

Wieland, R-Imperial, has asked the St. Louis-based 8th Circuit of Appeals to hear his legal challenge to that mandate on the grounds that it violates his parental rights.

Missouri State House of Representatives

 A lawsuit filed on behalf of a Missouri state representative is aimed at changing a mandate from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that he says violates his religious rights.

Paul Wieland, a Republican House member from Imperial, says he and his wife are no longer able to opt out of coverage for “abortion-inducing drugs” under a group health care plan provided for legislators.

He says that option has been removed because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Marshall Griffin, KWMU

With just a couple days left before the deadline, Democratic Governor Jay Nixon announced his decision on the few bills he had left. We've compiled those decisions below.

Without his signature, Nixon has allowed legislation that will require doctors to be in the room for the initial dose of a drug used in medication abortions.

Nixon announced Friday he would not sign the bill that effectively prohibits the use of telemedicine to provide medication abortions in Missouri. Without the signature, the bill becomes law.

(via Flickr/s_falkow)

Updated 11:08 a.m., 12:42 p.m., 3:19 p.m. (with reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey)

A lengthy legal battle over an abortion notification law appears to be ending, clearing the way for Illinois to begin enforcing a 1995 measure requiring doctors to notify a girl's parents before she undergoes the procedure.

Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court ruling says the case shouldn't be reconsidered and has to be enforced - unless there's an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Last week’s spectacle in the Texas Senate got national attention, but some Missouri politicos may have experienced déjà vu while watching a livestream of Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis’ filibuster against an abortion bill.

That includes Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, a Kansas City Democrat who followed what she dubbed a "fascinating" situation.

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