by Bethany Blankley
Missouri has become the first state in the U.S. where abortions are no longer performed.
A total of 45 abortion facilities closed or halted abortions nationwide in 2020, including in Missouri, which is now the only state without an active abortion facility, according to a survey conducted by Operation Rescue, a pro-life activist organization.
In its year-end report, “The Status of American Abortion Facilities in 2020,” it notes, the only remaining abortion provider, 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.”
Instead, the facility is referring all abortion appointments to Fairview Heights Planned Parenthood facility across the Mississippi River in Illinois.
“While the RHS Planned Parenthood remains open and licensed for abortions, we confirmed that none are being done there,” Operation Rescue President Troy Newman said 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.”
Despite winning a licensing battle with the state after the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services found its facility was unsafe and out of compliance with state abortion regulations, the facility voluntarily halted surgical abortions in Missouri. It had also previously voluntarily halted distributing abortion-inducing pills due to an unwillingness to comply with Missouri laws regulating the drugs.
On May 17, 2019, the Missouri Legislature passed one of the strictest abortion laws in the U.S., banning abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy, with no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. It was signed into law by Gov. Mike Parson.
“This is not a piece of legislation that is designed for a challenge,” Missouri’s Republican House Speaker Elijah Haahr said at the time of the bill’s passage. “This is the type of legislation that is designed to withstand a challenge and to actually save lives in our state.”
Democrat Jill Schrupp said the bill was “an extreme and egregious piece of legislation that puts women’s health at risk. It is outrageous that it has no exemptions for victims of human trafficking, rape or incest.”
There are currently 706 active abortion facilities in the U.S., according to Operation Rescue’s count.
In 2020, the number of abortion facilities decreased in 10 states. In New York, nine closed; in Washington state, three closed; in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Texas, two closed in each state.
States with only one abortion facility left in 2020 included Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming.
However, 13 states saw increases in their number of abortion facilities: California, Minnesota, Colorado, Michigan, North Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky, Maine, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Virginia.
– – –
Bethany Blankley is a regular contributor at The Center Square.