The shameful bullying of Planned Parenthood Great Plains played a big role in costing Missouri taxpayers more than $156,000 this week.
U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey said the public will have to cover the group’s legal bills in its fight against misguided attempts — led by state Sen. Kurt Schaefer and other Republican lawmakers — to revoke its license to perform legal abortions in Columbia.
In May, Laughrey had ruled that “political pressure” from Schaefer — chairman of the Senate Interim Committee on Sanctity of Life — and other elected officials had violated the rights of Planned Parenthood to operate in the state.
The politicians had intimidated the University of Missouri Health System into revoking the privileges for a doctor who provided medication abortions in Columbia. Schaefer and others also appeared to threaten the funding of the Department of Health and Senior Services unless it treated that clinic “more harshly” than other surgical centers.
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Planned Parenthood’s responses to the attack netted this week’s $156,000 award for a battle that shouldn’t have occurred. Great Plains President and CEO Laura McQuade put it well when she said the incident had been a “reminder that the law will hold accountable those who seek to block women from accessing safe, legal abortion.”
The organization is still hoping to reopen its Columbia clinic and get a doctor who will be able to assist with abortions there.
As for Schaefer, Republican voters had the good sense earlier this week to overwhelmingly reject him as their candidate in the primary for state attorney general, instead selecting MU law professor Josh Hawley.
Schaefer had a very bad week that, because of his actions, also proved to be a costly one for Missouri taxpayers.