Planned Parenthood declares state of emergency for women’s health as six states restrict abortion

Planned Parenthood declares a ‘state of emergency’ for women’s health as six states pass strict ‘heartbeat’ bills to curb abortions – and Missouri threatens to shutter its only clinic

  • Planned Parenthood released a report on Thursday declaring a state of emergency for women’s health 
  • It discusses several states that have recently passed abortion laws including Alabama, Georgia and Ohio
  • The organization has filed a lawsuit in Missouri because the state’s only abortion clinic may be closed on June 1
  • Currently, six states have just one abortion-care provider

Planned Parenthood declared a ‘state of emergency’ for women’s health following the passage of laws in several states restricting or near-outright banning abortion.  

The organization claims that these new laws threaten access to abortion care, birth control, and reproductive health care, according to the report it released on Thursday. 

Several states have introduced or passed bills that have restricted abortion past the first trimester, including Alabama, Georgia, Missouri and Ohio.

And, on June 1, Missouri’s only abortion clinic may be closed because the state is threatening to not renew its license.

Planned Parenthood argues that these measures will not stop abortions and will only give rise to unsafe – and potentially deadly – back alley abortions.

Meanwhile, hundreds have taken to the streets and are protesting their local governments after these bills were signed into law. 

Planned Parenthood released a report declaring a state of emergency after several states passed strict abortion restrictions. Pictured: Protesters hold signs as they rally in support of Planned Parenthood and protest the potential closure of Missouri’s last abortion clinic, May 2019

According to the report, 303 bills restricting abortion were filed in 47 states this year.

Six states – Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Ohio – have all passed restrictive abortion laws after six weeks’ gestation. 

Alabama has passed what is perhaps the most extreme restriction, banning abortion from the time a woman ‘knows she is pregnant’.

There are no exceptions for rape and incest and doctors who perform abortions can be charged with a felony and be sentenced up to 99 years in prison. 

In Texas, a failed bill proposed criminalizing abortion and making it possible for women to be punished via the death penalty.

‘Across the country we are seeing unprecedented assaults on women’s health, especially in states that already have some of the worst health outcomes for women and children,’ Planned Parenthood president Dr Leana Wen said in a statement.

‘We must consider this grave threat to women’s health as we would any other public health emergency.’ 

In response to these measures, Planned Parenthood has filed lawsuits in Alabama, Georgia and Missouri. 

In Alabama, the organization argues that the new law conflicts with Roe v Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court’s decision that legalized abortion in the US.

In Missouri, Plant Parenthood is asking for a restraining order that would allow the clinic to keep offering abortions after its state license expires on Friday. 

Dr Wen told HuffPost that these bills will most harm women of color, trans women and women who live in rural areas or don’t have the means to travel to obtain an abortion. 

‘In this setting, we are further cutting access to health care and that will directly endanger women’s lives,’ she said.  

On Thursday, hundreds of demonstrators march in support of Planned Parenthood in a rally in St Louis, protesting the potential closure of Missouri’s last abortion clinic.

Demonstrators also appeared outside the Louisiana State Capitol. Yesterday,   lawmakers passed an abortion ban which Governor John Bel Edwards is expected to sign.

The so-called ‘heartbeat bill’ bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is as early as the sixth week of pregnancy, before some women even know they’re pregnant.

Hundreds wore bright pink T-shirts that read on the front: ‘We Stand With Planned Parenthood’ on the front.