The New York Times editorial board warned Tuesday that the country is in the midst of a “threatening time” for reproductive rights, pointing to the imminent closure of Missouri’s only abortion clinic.
Missouri is currently one of six states with only one provider, and if its Planned Parenthood clinic closes, Missouri women seeking abortions would have to travel to nearby Arkansas, Kansas, Illinois, Iowa or Oklahoma.
However, several of those states are also seeking to pass restrictive abortion legislation, the editorial board noted, and traveling out of state is only an option for women with the money and capacity to take time off from work.
“Abortion would become, even more than it is today, a procedure for the upper classes: Women with the financial means to travel, to pay for child care or to take time off from work would be able to get one in a clinic, while those who are poor would not,” the editorial board wrote.
Planned Parenthood announced Tuesday that Missouri’s health department will not renew its annual license to provide abortions at its St. Louis location amid an ongoing investigation. The license is set to expire May 31.
“The situation in Missouri is a reminder that anti-abortion forces have already so worn away the right to abortion in America that it’s now being held together by threads,” the editorial board wrote. “For too many women, the nightmare of a post-[Roe v. Wade] America is already here.”
Planned Parenthood has sued the state for refusing to renew the license without interviewing several of its doctors.
"We think this has nothing to do with patient care, and is inappropriate and unlawful under Missouri's statutes and regulations, so we have asked the court to rule on that," said Colleen McNicholas, an OB-GYN at Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region.
The announcement comes amid the passage of restrictive abortion laws in several states, including "heartbeat" bills outlawing the procedure once a fetal heartbeat is detected, often around six weeks, in Georgia and Ohio and an Alabama measure that would outlaw almost all abortions.