FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS — Planned Parenthood this week unveiled an 18,000-square-foot clinic they built almost in secret.
KMOV, a St. Louis CBS affiliate, reported that the clinic in Fairview Heights, Ill., is just 13 miles away from Missouri’s last abortion clinic in St. Louis.
Since August 2018, Planned Parenthood has used a shell company to construct the facility, leaving no public records that the former medical office would become one of the largest of the organization’s facilities in the country. CBS News first visited the site in August, while it was still being built.KMOV
“We were really intentional and strategic and selective when choosing our facility in Fairview Heights,” said Yamelsie Rodriguez, CEO of Planned Parenthood of St. Louis and Southwest Missouri. “Patients will be able to walk in without fear of being harassed by our protesters.”
Colleen McNicholas, the chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, said the facility was built in secret to avoid protestors and delays.
Other Planned Parenthood projects had run into problems once the public realized the construction was for an abortion provider. In one instance, a communications company had refused to install telephone and data lines; in another, a cabinet maker never delivered an order, McNicholas said. In Birmingham, Alabama, protestors targeted Planned Parenthood’s suppliers, flooding their social media accounts with fake negative reviews.
The TV station reported that the clinic will start accepting patients later this month. The new clinic replaces a smaller one in the same city.
In the past year, Missouri and Illinois have taken radically different paths in abortion laws and access.
Missouri has joined several Southern and Midwestern states in restricting access. The governor signed a bill banning abortion after eight weeks (currently blocked by the courts) and is trying to close the state’s last abortion clinic. Illinois, on the other hand, has passed laws ensuring access and defying a federal gag order on health providers discussing abortion.