JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A regional Planned Parenthood official said Wednesday that the organization likely would take legal action against the state of Missouri after a Columbia clinic halted abortions this week, leaving just one in the state that still performs them.
Laura McQuade, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, said the organization would sue the state Department of Health and Senior Services if it revokes the clinic's abortion license. That action is expected after panel of University of Missouri Health Care medical staff voted in September to discontinue the form of privileges granted to Planned Parenthood doctor Colleen McNicholas, effective next week.
State law requires any physician who performs abortions must have admitting privileges at a hospital. The clinic on Monday stopped offering non-surgical abortions, which are induced with a pill, because of the Thanksgiving holiday and the state's 72-hour waiting period for women to receive an abortion.
Now, Missouri's only abortion clinic is in St. Louis, which performs both surgical abortions and pill-induced ones; women in western Missouri can visit a Planned Parenthood facility in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, Kansas.
The panel voted in the face of mounting political pressure as state lawmakers investigated abortion in the state, spurred by undercover videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the transfer of fetal tissue that anti-abortion activists released starting in July.
McQuade and a student group supporting Planned Parenthood also said Columbia campus Interim Chancellor Hank Foley canceled a Wednesday meeting with them on the topic, although the university said such a meeting never was scheduled.
University spokesman Christian Basi said while Foley has not met with Mizzou for Planned Parenthood, other university representatives have. He said the school still is open to meeting.
McQuade said in a statement responding to Basi that meetings "promised to us and students" have been pushed back and canceled before they could confirm a time.
Missouri for Planned Parenthood organizer Dina van der Zalm said she had hoped Foley would delay the end of hospital privileges that were granted to the Planned Parenthood doctor or take other action that would enable the clinic to keep its license.
Kathy Forck of the 40 days for Life campaign said the end of abortions at the Columbia clinic is "a victory for women's health."
Forck said anti-abortion groups plan to deliver more letters in to the university Monday in support of breaking ties with Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood on Monday is holding a vigil and march on campus leading up to the end of refer-and-follow privileges.