JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri’s only abortion clinic would be subject to an annual inspection by the state’s health department under a bill advanced Wednesday by Missouri’s Republican-led House.
The bill would require ambulatory surgical centers performing any second- or third-trimester abortion, or five or more first-trimester abortions, to be inspected by the state Department of Health and Senior Services. That would apply to only one location in Missouri – a clinic operated by Planned Parenthood in St. Louis.
The measure, which passed 119-35, now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Bill sponsor Rep. Kathy Swan, a Cape Girardeau Republican, said the legislation would ensure women received the highest standard of care, regardless of the type of procedure or where it was performed.
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She cited a 2013 inspection of the state’s only abortion clinic that found violations, including dust and rust on some surfaces and expired medications in storage.
Those violations were resolved upon a subsequent follow-up visit.
Opponents said the bill has nothing to do with women’s health, because there are many other ambulatory surgical centers in the state that would not be inspected under the bill.
Rep. Lauren Arthur, a Kansas City Democrat, said Missouri’s abortion laws already are among the most restrictive in the nation and denounced the bill as “purely political.”
“It’s a veiled attempt to overregulate abortion out of existence,” she said.
Last year, the Legislature overrode Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a measure to require women to wait 72 hours to obtain an abortion after receiving state-mandated information about the procedure and alternatives.
Just two other states – Utah and South Dakota – have 72-hour waiting periods.