Missouri becomes first 'abortion-free state': report

The exterior of a Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Center is seen on May 31, 2019, in St Louis, Missouri.
The exterior of a Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Center is seen on May 31, 2019, in St Louis, Missouri. | Michael Thomas/Getty Images

A pro-life group is reporting that Missouri has become the first “abortion-free state” in the U.S. after its last remaining abortion facility ceased terminating pregnancies.

Operation Rescue released a report outlining “The Status of American Abortion Facilities in 2020” last week. According to the report, “a total of 45 abortion facilities closed or halted abortions nationwide in 2020, leaving one state without an active abortion facility.”

“Reproductive Health Services Planned Parenthood in St. Louis was the last abortion facility in Missouri. It remains open, but Operation Rescue has confirmed that no abortion appointments have been available there for months, and none are available anytime in the foreseeable future. All abortion appointments are now being referred to the Fairview Heights Planned Parenthood facility across the Mississippi River in Illinois.”

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Reproductive Health Services Planned Parenthood confirmed with The Christian Post that it no longer performs abortions and refers all patients seeking abortions to its new 18,000-square-foot Fairview Heights facility, which is located 16 miles away. 

Planned Parenthood's new Fairview Heights clinic performs both surgical abortions and medication-induced abortions for women in Southern Illinois and surrounding areas. 

According to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, Missouri has an abortion ban that would immediately go into effect should the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide be overturned. In 2019, the state passed a heartbeat bill, which would ban abortion at the point a fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks gestation. Like many similar measures passed in other states, the law was quickly subject to a court challenge.

The pro-life group Americans United for Life ranked Missouri as the eighth-most pro-life state  on its “Life List 2021,” which was compiled based on a “comprehensive analysis of each state’s law and policy protections for human life from conception to natural death.” Nearby Arkansas was ranked the most pro-life state in the U.S., followed by Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Indiana, Kansas and Arizona.

Operation Rescue's report includes a chart highlighting which states saw an increase in the number of abortion clinics in 2020, which states saw a decrease in the number of abortion providers, and which states saw no change in the number of abortion facilities.

Ten states saw a decrease in the number of abortion providers, with the most notable drop occurring in New York, where nine abortion clinics closed. Washington state has three fewer abortion clinics while Connecticut, New Jersey and Texas each have two fewer abortion facilities.

Alaska, Colorado, Illinois and Ohio, along with Missouri, all have one less abortion clinic. An additional 12 states saw an increase in the number of abortion facilities. California and Minnesota each added three abortion clinics while Colorado, Michigan and North Carolina now have two additional abortion facilities. Alabama, Kentucky, Maine, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Virginia have one additional abortion clinic in their respective states.

California has by far the highest number of abortion clinics, with 149. Besides Missouri, which now has zero abortion clinics, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming have the fewest number of abortion clinics, with one each.

In 2020, the number of abortion clinics nationwide stood at 706, a slight decline from the 710 in 2019. Looking ahead, Operation Rescue President Troy Newman predicted that “2021 will be a crossroads of sorts for the abortion cartel and the pro-life movement alike.”

He expressed concern that with Democrats slated to take control of the Executive Branch next week, “we could see an abortion expansion not witnessed since the early years after the Roe v. Wade decision decriminalized abortion nationwide.”

“Whatever challenges 2021 holds, Operation Rescue will continue to work toward our goal of building an Abortion-Free America and a bright future of the children of tomorrow,” he added.

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