Columbia clinic to resume abortion service

Tuesday, January 15, 2002

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- A Planned Parenthood clinic plans to resume abortion services nearly three years after a court decision forced it to stop.

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri was to announce today that abortions will resume at its Columbia clinic for the first time since after a February 1999 court ruling.

The U.S. District Court of Appeals decision upheld legislative language barring state family planning money from going to abortion providers.

The three-judge panel ruled that abortion providers must set up separate entities to offer state-financed family planning services, which include providing contraceptives and performing reproductive exams.

That restriction no longer applies to the Planned Parenthood clinic in Columbia, agency officials have said, because it no longer receives state money.

The Missouri Supreme Court is to hear arguments today in a case challenging the implementation of Legislature's family planning money restrictions.

A statement from Planned Parenthood said the case contests "the eligibility of two Planned Parenthood affiliates to receive state family planning appropriations and the legality of language used in those appropriations."

Services offered

Besides Columbia, Planned Parenthood offers abortion services in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas. Planned Parenthood declined comment Monday about the resumption of abortions at its Columbia clinic.

One local legislator praised the move.

"The resumption of services by Planned Parenthood will give low-income women the same access to a safe, legal medical service that has always been available to people with more money," said Rep. Vicky Riback Wilson, D-Columbia.

Anti-abortion groups criticized the decision.

"I am sorry to hear that Planned Parenthood has resumed performing abortions," said Nile Abele, the executive director of Open Arms, a crisis pregnancy center across the street from Planned Parenthood.

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