Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit Monday seeking to strike down a new Missouri law that requires abortion clinics to meet the same state health and safety standards already applied to other types of ambulatory surgical centers.
The federal lawsuit contends that the law, which takes effect Aug. 28, would infringe on abortion rights, and asks a judge for an injunction blocking it.
Among the new requirements noted in the lawsuit: outpatient surgery centers must have halls at least six feet wide and doors at least 44 inches wide; there must be separate male and female changing rooms for personnel; and a recovery room with space for at least four beds with three feet of clearance around each.
Planned Parenthood claims the law could eliminate abortion services in parts of the state by subjecting clinics to stringent state oversight. The required renovations, it claims, are costly and “medically unnecessary.”
In particular, Planned Parenthood fears the law could put two of its abortion centers — one in Columbia and the other in Kansas City — out of business. Planned Parenthood contends that already existing facilities should be exempt from meeting the new physical requirements.
The third abortion clinic that would remain open is in St. Louis.
According to an AP report, Missouri's pro-life majority in the state legislature contends the law is necessary to ensure the health and safety of women seeking abortions.
Republican state Sen. Delbert Scott, a lead sponsor of the legislation, said he believes it is fair to regulate abortions like other procedures.