Abortion access is hanging on by a thread. And as Long Islanders, while we can be thankful that the passage of the Reproductive Health Act protects reproductive rights in our state, we cannot and will not sit back while other states cut off access to care for millions.
Recently, the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services (DOSS) announced its plan to revoke the license of the last remaining abortion care provider in the state, a Planned Parenthood in St. Louis, potentially denying 1.1 million Missouri women of reproductive age access to safe and legal abortion. The reasons the DOSS cited for revocation lacked medical merit.
Essentially, this measure sought to weaponize the Department of Health & Senior Services by using “licensing” as a tool to circumvent legislative action. However, just hours before being shut down, thanks to a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood, a judge ruled that the state could continue providing abortions until the full license review is completed.
But Missouri is not alone; it’s one of many states passing extreme abortion restrictions and bans across America. To date, abortion bans have also been passed in Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi and Louisiana. Many of these laws do not include exceptions for rape or incest survivors. Others would jail doctors for offering care.
In 2019 alone, as of June 14, 303 bills restricting abortion care have been filed in 47 states, 135 of which are bans in some or all circumstances. Ninety percent of U.S. counties lack a provider of abortion care. Six states have only one provider.
These are dark times, indeed.
Make no mistake — these attacks are part of a coordinated plan by those opposed to safe and legal abortion to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Here at Planned Parenthood of Nassau County, along with our national office and sister affiliates, we are fighting back in the courts, on the streets, and across social media. If there were ever a time to stand up for what you believe, it’s now.
Stand up for the thousands of patients that depend upon Planned Parenthood in your neighborhood. Stand up, because we need you like never before.
JoAnn D. Smith is president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Nassau County