On Tuesday, Planned Parenthood’s president, Leana Wen, issued a panicked tweet because if the state of Missouri doesn’t renew by Friday Planned Parenthood’s license for its clinic in St. Louis, Missouri will be the first state that doesn’t have a single abortion clinic.
Wen tweeted, “If Planned Parenthood’s St. Louis health center cannot provide abortion care, this will be the first time since 1974 that safe, legal abortion care will be inaccessible to people in an entire state.”
Wen also quavered that such an occurrence would constitute a “real public health crisis” and attacked the Trump administration, snapping, “This is the world that the Trump administration and anti-women’s health politicians across the country have been pushing for → a world where abortion care is illegal and inaccessible in this country.”
On May 24, Missouri governor Mike Parson signed HB 126 into law. He stated, “By signing this bill today, we are sending a strong signal to the nation that, in Missouri, we stand for life, protect women’s health, and advocate for the unborn. All life has value and is worth protecting.” He added, “Thanks to decades of pro-life leadership, Missouri recently hit an all-time low for the number of abortions. We’ve gone from a high of more than 20,000 in our state, to now below 3,000. By working together, we can continue to assist more Missourians in choosing life.”
The bill states:
Except in cases of medical emergency, no abortion shall knowingly be performed or induced upon a pregnant woman if the fetal heartbeat of the unborn child has been detected in accordance with the provisions of this section.
The bill also states that the physician must determine whether the heartbeat of the unborn child can be detected, and if that is possible, the prospective mother must be given the option of hearing the heartbeat and be informed that unless there is an emergency, no abortion shall be performed:
A physician who intends to perform or induce an abortion upon a pregnant woman shall determine whether there is a detectable fetal heartbeat of the unborn child … The physician shall record in the pregnant woman’s medical record the estimated gestational age of the unborn child, the method used to test for the presence or absence of a fetal heartbeat, the date and the time of the test, and the results of the test. The physician shall give the pregnant woman the option to view or hear the fetal heartbeat. If a fetal heartbeat is detected, the physician shall, in writing, inform the pregnant woman that a fetal heartbeat has been detected and that an abortion may not be performed under Missouri law except in cases of medical emergency.
The bill adds that a physician will be punished if he/she does not conduct a fetal heartbeat detection test, and if an abortion is performed subsequent to the detection of a heartbeat, the physician will have his/her license revoked:
… a physician who fails to conduct a fetal heartbeat detection test prior to the performance or inducement of an abortion upon a pregnant woman shall, for each instance of failure, be subject to having his or her license or license application rejected, revoked, or suspended by the state board of registration for the healing arts in accordance with the provisions of section 334.100 for a period of six months and shall be subject to a fine of one thousand dollars. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 188.075, a physician who performs or induces an abortion upon a pregnant woman after a fetal heartbeat detection test reveals the presence of a fetal heartbeat in the unborn child shall have his or her license revoked, and any future license application rejected, by the state board of registration for the healing arts in accordance with the provisions of section 334.100.