Missouri has officially become the first state in America to effectively end abortions. This as a total of 45 abortion clinics across the nation either opted to close or halt operations in 2020. Standing out among the group of states with closing facilities, Missouri became the only state in the country to not have an actively running abortion clinic, according to a recent survey conducted by a pro-life activist organization known as Operation Rescue. According to the group’s end of the year report, the only remaining abortion clinic in the state is the struggling Reproductive Health Services Planned Parenthood (RHSSP) in St. Louis. While it remains open, the facility had no abortion appointments for months and continues to have zero plans to schedule any new appointments in the foreseeable future. Any further abortion appointments are now being circulated to the Fairview Heights Planned Parenthood facility across the Mississippi River in the neighboring state of Illinois.
“While the RHS Planned Parenthood remains open and licensed for abortions, we confirmed that none are being done there,” says Operation Rescue President Troy Newman in a statement. “That means this facility is currently acting only as an abortion referral center. There is no operational abortion facility in the State of Missouri, making it the first Abortion-Free State at this time.”
Troy accused RHSSP of attempting to run from Missouri’s strong anti-abortion laws, and shift focus to a state like Illinois where abortion facilities largely operate unaccounted. The RHSSP facility had won a licensing battle against the Missouri Department of Health where they were accused of unsafe, unsanitary and not in compliance with Missouri state abortion regulations. Despite this, it would voluntarily move to halt all surgical abortions in the state. This, in addition to RHSSP having previously halted the distribution of abortion-inducing pills because of an unwillingness to comply with Missouri laws that regulated such drugs.
Missouri has been notable for passing some of the strictest abortion laws in the country, including an act passed by the Missouri Legislature passed on May 17, 2019 that banned all abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy, making no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. The act was officially signed into law by Republican Gov. Mike Parson.
According to Operation Rescue’s count, there are currently 706 active abortion facilities in the U.S. Surgical abortions, including those once performed in Missouri, have declined by 255 since 2009. Missouri’s strict history of abortion laws and non-abortion status follows a nation-wide trend of declining abortions facilities and services. In 2020, the number of abortion facilities steadily decreased across 10 states. Most notably New York, saw the closing of nine facilities; three closed in Washington state; while in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Texas, two closed across each state. Following this, states with only one remaining abortion clinic in 2020 included Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming. By contrast, 13 states saw increases in abortion clinics, including: Alabama, North Carolina, Nevada, Maine Oklahoma, California, and Colorado.