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Planned Parenthood Opens Secretly-Built 'Mega Clinic' To Counter Strict Anti-Abortion Laws

Planned Parenthood Opens Secretly-Built 'Mega Clinic' To Counter Strict Anti-Abortion Laws

The facility was built in secret to avoid protestors and delays. Apparently, other Planned Parenthood projects had run into problems once the public realized the construction was for an abortion provider.

Planned Parenthood recently announced the opening of their new 18,000 square-foot clinic in southern Illinois on Wednesday after more than a year of secretly building the facility, according to The Hill.  The new clinic in Illinois is a mere 13 miles from Missouri's last remaining abortion clinic which is located in St. Louis. Since August 2018, Planned Parenthood has been using a shell company to construct the facility, giving people no public trace that the former medical office would become one of the largest abortion clinics in the country, according to CBS News



 

Colleen McNicholas, the chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, said the facility was built in secret to avoid protestors and delays. Apparently, other Planned Parenthood projects had run into problems once the public realized the construction was for an abortion provider.  In one instance, a communications company had refused to install telephone and data lines; in another, a cabinet maker never delivered an order, McNicholas said.



 

Also, in Birmingham, Alabama, protestors targeted Planned Parenthood's suppliers, flooding their social media accounts with fake negative reviews. "We were really intentional and thoughtful about making sure that we were able to complete this project as expeditiously as possible because we saw the writing on the wall — patients need better access, so we wanted to get it open as quickly as we could," McNicholas said during an interview with CBS News.



 

Planned Parenthood hopes to be taking in patients soon, and the St. Louis location has plans to double its clinic escort staff on Wednesday in anticipation of increased protests. The newly conservative Supreme Court has made access to abortion quite difficult, especially in the South and Midwest, where state lawmakers have rushed to pass laws that ban the procedure in hopes of overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that effectively legalized the procedure.



 

This year alone, state politicians have introduced 300 bills restricting access to abortion, according to data compiled by the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research organization. Twelve states have passed abortion bans, none of which are currently in effect. But, nowhere else is access to abortion less secure than Missouri. Since 2018, a single Planned Parenthood outlet has been the state's only legal abortion clinic.



 

This has pushed some women to spend hours crossing the state to obtain the procedure. In May, that clinic was nearly forced to stop providing abortions, after the state's health department refused to renew its license. However, a string of preliminary injunctions has allowed the clinic to continue operating for months. Missouri women face some of the country's most restrictive laws when seeking an abortion, and it's also important to mention that there's only one clinic in the state where they can obtain the procedure. 



 

The process to obtain an abortion is just getting more difficult with each passing day. Currently, patients are required to undergo state-mandated counseling where they receive anti-abortion literature before they obtain the procedure. After that, they're forced to wait at least 72 hours before they can have their abortion. However, lawmakers in Illinois have reportedly passed laws expanding abortion access and loosening restrictions. 



 

Even though the new facility could absorb all of St. Louis's patients if the clinic has to stop performing abortions, McNicholas said the new clinic doesn't mean they're giving up on Missouri. "Our supporters, our patients, the board, everyone is so committed to the mission of being present in Missouri and taking the responsibility to provide access to abortion for Missourians in the place they live," she said. "Although I am confident it will be a fight, we will continue to show up to that fight." 



 

Disclaimer : This is based on sources and we have been unable to verify this information independently.

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