It appears that the head of Reproductive Health Services Planned Parenthood in St. Louis, Missouri, may have misled NPR about abortion restrictions in the state and their impact on the facility. Although Planned Parenthood’s abortion facility in St. Louis is the last one in Missouri, reports from last year revealed a significant drop in abortions. Yamelsie Rodriguez, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, claimed that this is because pro-life laws such as the 72-hour waiting period are too burdensome and are forcing women to go elsewhere. According to NPR, she said on March 12, “When they are weighing their options, the majority of patients are clearly seeing that abortion access is so unmanageable that they’re choosing to cross state lines.”
Planned Parenthood often pushes the narrative that abortion restrictions are so burdensome they deny women access to abortion or force them to travel long distances to get them, and Planned Parenthood has a long history of opposing even the most benign regulations, like informed consent laws.
It turns out that this Planned Parenthood itself — which has injured, on average, one woman every six weeks — has refused to schedule abortions at the St. Louis facility and is instead sending women across the border to Illinois for abortions at the corporation’s new mega center in Fairview Heights. The reason for this is unknown at this time. An undercover call placed to the St. Louis facility by Operation Rescue revealed this fact. Here is a transcript of the call, made on March 12, 2020:
Caller: I need to get an abortion appointment in St. Louis.
RHSPP: Our St. Louis, Missouri, location doesn’t have any availability at this time. We do have available appointments at the Illinois location.
Caller: I’m not really able to travel out of state. Isn’t there some way you can fit me in to the schedule?
RHSPP: We don’t have any op — procedures available at that location at all.
Caller: Oh, like, even though it says online that you offer abortions?
RHSPP: Yes, at this time, the St. Louis, Missouri, location does not have any availability for those services.
Caller: So there’s just no way? Like, you don’t just have a half hour or an hour that I could get an abortion in St. Louis right now?
Caller: Ok, well, that stinks, because I can’t go out of state. Um, like if I — Is there a way I could pay extra and get the abortion in St. Louis?
RHSPP: No, ma’am.
Pro-life watchdog group Operation Rescue claims no abortions have been committed at the St. Louis Planned Parenthood facility this year.
The claim that women were choosing not to go to RHSPP on their own because of onerous regulations appears to have been misleading at best. Instead, Planned Parenthood workers seem to be turning women away. This facility’s license was revoked by the state for various health violations, yet an administrative stay has allowed the facility to remain open and operational while unlicensed.
Pro-life laws like those in Missouri protect women. The ones who are really inconvenienced by informed consent laws and waiting periods are abortion facilities, who can’t deceive women as easily or rush them through their abortions. It seems that, even though this facility is still open while unlicensed, rather than follow pro-life laws, Planned Parenthood would rather send women out of state to its sister center. Illinois has no waiting period, informed consent, or ultrasound requirement. Doing abortions there would allow Planned Parenthood to avoid the regulations they don’t want to follow.
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