Will Missouri Become the First State Without an Abortion Clinic Since Roe v. Wade?

A hearing this week will decide the fate of the state’s only remaining clinic.

Abortion rights supporters take part in a protest on May 30 in St. Louis. Jeff Roberson/AP Photo

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

A hearing this week will determine the fate of Missouri’s only remaining abortion clinic—and whether Missouri will become the first state in the country not to have a single abortion clinic since Roe v. Wade

At the conclusion of the week-long hearing, which began Monday, a state commissioner will decide whether Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region will be able to keep its license to provide abortions. It is the latest hurdle in the abortion clinic’s months-long fight against the state government.

Over the summer, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services demanded to question clinic doctors over claims that the clinic had “potential deficient practices.” The clinic denied the state’s request to interview the doctors, claiming that the forced interviews were a form of harassment and intimidation because the constantly changing enforcement of regulations ensured that providers never knew when they were violating the state’s protocols and could be subject to civil or even criminal penalties following these interrogations. As a result, the health department declined to renew the clinic’s license, leading Planned Parenthood to sue. Planned Parenthood argued that the state had “weaponized the licensing process.”

As I reported in June, the uncertainty surrounding the clinic has taken a toll on both abortion providers and clinic patients. Dr. Colleen McNicholas, one of the doctors at the clinic, told me that the state’s 72-hour waiting period between an initial visit and an abortion has left patients in limbo, unsure if the clinic will still be operating when they come back for their second appointment. 

The hearing is taking place before Missouri’s Administrative Hearing Commission. A single commissioner will determine whether the St. Louis Planned Parenthood will be able to keep its license to perform abortions. The hearing is set to conclude on Friday afternoon. According to NPR, the commissioner will hear the state health department’s case against the clinic during the first part of the week and Planned Parenthood’s response during the second half.

While the fate of Missouri’s final abortion clinic remains in the balance, states like Illinois are stepping up their efforts to protect reproductive rights and serve patients from neighboring Missouri. In June, Illinois passed the Reproductive Health Act, which recognizes the right to reproductive health care, including abortion, contraception, sterilization, pregnancy and maternity care. The law also states that “a fertilized, egg, embryo or fetus does not have independent rights.” Illinois Planned Parenthood has announced the opening of a new 18,000-square-foot mega-clinic in Fairview Heights, a mere 15 miles from the Missouri border, which it hopes will be able to provide Missouri residents with care regardless of the outcome of this week’s hearing. 

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate