State Watch

Kansas City hospital system resumes Plan B distribution after temporary halt amid abortion ban

A package of Plan B contraceptive is displayed at a pharmacy in California in 2013. (Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Saint Luke’s Health System, a large health care group based in Kansas City, Mo., resumed distribution of Plan B emergency contraceptives this week after a pause due to confusion over the state’s newly implemented abortion ban.

“Following further internal review, Saint Luke’s will now resume providing emergency contraceptives, under new protocols, at all Missouri-based Saint Luke’s hospitals and clinics,” the hospital system wrote in a statement, adding that it will “closely monitor legal developments regarding Missouri’s trigger law.”

The state of Missouri passed the “Right to Life of the Unborn Child Act” in 2019, limiting abortion to “cases of medical emergency.”

Missouri Revisor of Statutes section 188.017 specifies that any person who “knowingly performs or induces an abortion of an unborn child” will be guilty of a felony but that a woman “upon whom an abortion is performed or induced” will not be prosecuted.

The act was officially implemented by the Show Me State’s Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R) on June 24, shortly following the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Dobbs v. Jackson Supreme Court decision.

“This opinion immediately restores Missouri’s deeply rooted history and proud tradition of respecting, protecting and promoting the life of the unborn,” wrote Schmitt in his release.

Schmitt cited the state’s Supreme Court’s recent Rodgers v. Danforth decision to bolster his implementation of the abortion law, where the members of the Court determined that “unborn children have all the qualities and attributes of adult human persons differing only in age and maturity.”

Saint Luke’s Health System contended in its statement that “the ambiguity of the law, and the uncertainty even among state officials about what this law prohibits, continues to cause grave concern and will require careful monitoring.”

“This is especially true because the penalty for violation of the statute includes the criminal prosecution of health care providers whose sole focus is to provide medically necessary care for their patients,” the statement read.

Tags abortion ban eric schmitt Missouri Plan B
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