Planned Parenthood sues for second time over abortion law

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — For the second time, Planned Parenthood is suing Missouri over a portion of its new abortion law, this time involving requirements for administering abortion pills.

A woman undergoing a medication abortion takes one pill at an abortion clinic and generally takes a second pill at home. In a federal lawsuit filed Monday in Kansas City, Planned Parenthood seeks to block part of the law, known as complication plan regulation, which requires those who provide the medication to contract with an obstetrician-gynecologist with admitting privileges at a hospital. The ob-gyn must be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to treat any complications from a medication abortion, KCUR reported .

In its lawsuit, Planned Parenthood Great Plains said the regulation “is the latest in a series of medically unnecessary requirements imposed by the State, which will, without basis, limit women’s access to an extremely safe procedure using medications alone.”

The organization said the regulation has already prevented it from providing medication abortions at its clinic in Columbia. It said complication rates for the procedure are 0.23 percent.

The regulation is included in new abortion laws passed this summer during a special session called by Gov. Eric Greitens.

Planned Parenthood had filed an earlier lawsuit trying to block a provision of the law that requires the same physician providing an abortion to inform the patient of its medical risks three days before the procedure. A Jackson County judge ruled last week that the provision doesn’t impose an “undue burden” on women seeking abortions.

The earlier lawsuit was filed in state court and challenged the law under the Missouri Constitution. The latest lawsuit was filed in federal court, arguing that it violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

Planned Parenthood said the complication plan requirement has effectively banned medication abortions in Columbia, Joplin and Springfield. Plans have been approved in Kansas City and St. Louis. It argues the regulation harms women’s health by restricting access to medication abortions except at two facilities on opposite sides of the state.

“Women from anywhere outside of those two areas must travel significant distances to obtain a medication abortion in their home state,” the lawsuit states. “And due to other Missouri abortion restrictions, they must make this trip two times, at least 72 hours apart, and meet in person with the same physician who is going to provide the abortion.”

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley said in a statement, “The Missouri Complications Plan Requirement for medication abortions is a commonsense regulation that ensures women have access to adequate care in medical emergencies. My office will continue to vigorously defend these regulations.”

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Information from: KCUR-FM, http://www.kcur.org

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