A federal judge has rebuffed efforts by Planned Parenthood to block a new Missouri law protecting the health and safety of women undergoing drug-induced abortions.
U.S District Judge Beth Phillips denied the request of attorneys for Planned Parenthood to issue a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of the new law.
The law enacted by the General Assembly during last year's special session established new standards governing what the abortion industry and their media allies like to describe as "medication abortions."
These abortions involve administration of the abortion drug regimen RU-486, and there is nothing medicinal about it.
Women are given the drug mifepristone at an abortion facility. This drug causes the deterioration of the endometrial lining of the uterus, resulting in the expiration of a developing embryo attached to the uterine wall.
Women are then sent home to take another drug called misoprostol, which causes the women to expel the remains of the dead embryo. The abortion drug cocktail is dangerous, prompting in many cases excessive hemorraghing, and in some cases, "incomplete" abortions.
The new statute adopted by the Missouri Legislature requires that any doctor who is prescribing the use of RU-486 must first obtain approval from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) of a "complication plan."
DHSS subsequently issued regulations stipulating that an abortion facility or doctor must have a written contract with an obstetrician or Ob/Gyn group to be available 24 hours a day 7 days a week to treat any complications related to the administration of the abortion drugs.
Judge Phillips expressed her personal conclusion that the regulations have virtually no benefit. However, she also concluded that the regulation would not be a substantial burden to a large fraction of women seeking a chemical abortion, and was thus not unconstitutional.
The new regulations have, for the moment, proven highly problematic for the Springfield and Columbia clinics operated by Planned Parenthood.
Authorities at Planned Parenthood have been unable to reach working agreements with local ob/gyns in Springfield and Columbia, because they do not want to be associated with the abortion provider.
As a result, Planned Parenthood has been unable to provide the RU-486 abortion drugs at those locations.
Judge Phillips explained that while the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that women have the right to access a legal abortion, they do not have a constitutional right to a particular method of abortion.
Judge Phillips surmised that most women who would be unable to obtain a chemical abortion would instead choose to have a surgical abortion.
The preliminary judgement by Judge Phillips in this case is consistent with the position recently taken by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals regarding a nearly identical law in the State of Arkansas.
In that case, a three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit overturned a U.S. District Court judge's ruling blocking enforcement of the "complication" plan provisions enacted by the Arkansas Legislature for drug-induced abortions.
Planned Parenthood has been unable to find any obstetrician anywhere in the State of Arkansas who is willing to enter into a contractual relationship with the abortion provider.
Missouri Planned Parenthood affiliates have been successful in obtaining approval of "complication plans" for their abortion clinics in St. Louis and Kansas City, and thus are able to administer the abortion drugs at those facilities.