Missouri’s only abortion clinic could be closed by the end of the week because the state is threatening to not renew its license, Planned Parenthood officials said Tuesday.
Planned Parenthood officials said in a teleconference that the current license for the St. Louis facility expires Friday. If not renewed, the organization said Missouri would become the first state without a functioning abortion clinic since the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.
“This is not a drill,” said Dr. Leana Wen, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “This is not a warning. This is real and it’s a public health crisis.”
Phone and email messages left for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and Gov. Mike Parson’s office haven’t been returned.
Missouri is among half a dozen states that have passed sweeping anti-abortion measures. Parson, a Republican, signed a bill Friday banning abortions on or beyond the eighth week of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest.
Missouri is among a half-dozen states that recently passed sweeping anti-abortion measures, leading to uncertainty for abortion providers elsewhere too.
Under the Missouri law that comes into force Aug. 28, doctors who violate the eight-week cutoff could face five to 15 years in prison. Women who terminate their pregnancies cannot be prosecuted.
Wen said a lawsuit is planned to try and keep the St. Louis clinic open. If it closes, the nearest clinics performing abortions are in a Kansas suburb of Kansas City and in Granite City, Illinois, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis.