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Abortion Services Could Expand to Joplin - KOAM TV 7

Abortion Services Could Expand to Joplin

Updated:
JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

Planned Parenthood affiliates in Missouri have filed a federal lawsuit to end what they call unnecessary, unconstitutional regulations. 
 
As of now, the Joplin Planned Parenthood offers health care services including abortion referrals. It does not perform abortions on site, but, "I think it's a very real possibility," Mary Kogut of the Planned Parenthood St. Louis region and Southwest Missouri said. "We would look very carefully at what we could provide for women in Joplin and in Springfield, both."

Right now the only Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Missouri is in St. Louis. Planned Parenthood says that is due to current regulations on abortion clinics, including requiring abortion clinics to meet the same standards as surgical centers. 

"Facilities to be licensed ambulatory surgical centers means that they are to have hallways of a certain size, rooms of a certain size, ceilings of a certain height," Kogut said. "Requirements that are not proven to enhance the safety of the procedure."

If Missouri affiliates of Planned Parenthood are successful in a federal lawsuit to remove those regulations, abortion services could be expanded to Joplin and Springfield. 

Life Choices in Joplin, as policy, does not refer clients to abortion clinics or perform abortions. 

"I am very concerned that these practices would come into our city," Exec. Dir. of Life Choices Network Karolyn Schrage said. 

Life Choices currently serves roughly 100 clients with positive pregnancy tests a month. Right now the closest abortion clinics are in Fayetteville, Kansas City, Kansas, and Tulsa. If abortion is accessible in Southwest Missouri, more women might terminate their pregnancy. 

"We don't ever want to settle for substandard practices," Schrage said. "So, you know, any time anyone would want to step away from best practices, that would be a concern."

"This doesn't mean that we wouldn't abide by safety standards," Kogut said. "We of course would."

If Planned Parenthood wins it's lawsuit it is not guaranteed Joplin would begin offering abortion services.

The supreme court ruled against similar abortion regulations in Texas.

Planned Parenthood affiliates in Alaska and North Carolina have also filed lawsuits.

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