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New Missouri Law Tightens Abortion Clinic Regulations.

Missouri abortion clinics that take the lives of more than five first-trimester or any older unborn babies each month must register as "ambulatory surgical centers," requiring stricter safety standards and routine inspections by the state health department.

"It's about women getting the best and the safest health care possible," Susan Klein, Missouri Right to Life legislative liaison, told NRL News.

Gov. Matt Blunt signed House Bill 1055 establishing the new regulations July 6, and they are scheduled to take effect August 28, according to the Associated Press (AP).

The abortion clinics that will now be classified as "ambulatory surgical centers" include ones that perform both surgical and chemical abortions. These centers must meet state regulations concerning emergency equipment, staffing, infection control, accessibility, and other requirements. They will be monitored by the state Department of Health and Senior Services, which estimated that at least three abortion clinics would now need to be reclassified as surgical centers, the AP reported.

The bill also contains other pro-life provisions. It establishes the Missouri Alternatives to Abortion Services Program, which provides support services for women in crisis pregnancies, as a permanent program in state law. Previously, funds for the program were appropriated each year through the budget, the AP reported. "The program provides funds on the front line for women in crisis," said Klein.

Planned Parenthood lobbyist Michelle Trupiano told the AP that the group is contemplating filing a court challenge. However, pro-lifers are confident that the law will withstand a lawsuit. "It's a good bill that will be upheld," Klein said.

Pro-life legislation in Missouri, including a Women's Right to Know bill passed in 2003, has contributed to declining numbers of abortions in the state. The state health department reported July 18 that 11,833 Missouri women had abortions both in Missouri and in neighboring Kansas in 2006, the second-lowest figure since 1975, according to the AP. The numbers have been steadily declining since 1980, when 22,032 Missouri unborn babies died by abortion.

While this number was up slightly from 2005, by 1.8%, the number of Missouri women having abortions in their home state actually dropped by 5.3% to 7,556. The figures show that more women are traveling to Kansas for abortions. This may be due to the fact that Planned Parenthood's surgical abortion clinic for the Kansas City, Missouri, area is actually across the border in Overland Park, Kansas, the AP reported.

Klein attributed the decline in abortions since 1980 in part to pro-life efforts to educate women about abortion and the development of their unborn babies. "The more women know about what actually does occur in an abortion," she said, "the more it helps them understand there's another life that's involved, not just their own."
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Title Annotation:House Bill 1055
Publication:National Right to Life News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2007
Words:457
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