Anti-choice Missouri legislators are primed to continue their assault on reproductive rights by planning to introduce a bill in January that would require health inspections of abortion clinics. There was, as of January 2014, only one abortion clinic in Missouri, a Planned Parenthood in St. Louis.
A bill was submitted by state Sen. Wayne Wallingford (R-Cape Girardeau) this month that would mandate state health officials to conduct annual inspections of abortion clinics, a requirement that was introduced in similar legislation during the 2014 legislative session.
The bill is scheduled to be introduced at the start of the next General Assembly session, beginning in January, according to local news outlet KOAM.
The similarly worded bill was introduced last winter by state Rep. Kathy Swan, though it was never passed. That legislation would have required the state Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) to conduct four inspections of all abortion providers. It would also give the DHSS the power to force the immediate closure of clinics they deem to pose a “serious risk of harm” to patients.
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As Rewire has reported, the bill introduced this year was a response to an inspection of the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis in January 2013. Though the DHSS found that the clinic was in “substantial compliance with the rules and regulation for abortion facilities,” anti-choice activists have lauded the inspection as proof of the need to keep a closer eye on clinics in the state, narrowing in on details of the inspection like the amount of dust in the clinic to make specious claims about abortion safety.
GOP state Rep. Stanley Cox during the 2014 session told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he thinks “there’s some concern that Missouri is not doing enough to protect life.”
During that legislative session, Missouri lawmakers considered myriad anti-choice bills—at least 30, or more than any other kind of legislation in nearly every other state in the country. Those bills included mandatory waiting periods, increased ultrasound requirements, and parental consent regulations.