St. Louis’s last abortion clinic defies state, won’t do second pelvic exam

ST. LOUIS — Planned Parenthood of St. Louis, the last clinic in Missouri that performs abortions, has said it will no longer do the second pelvic exam required by state law. The clinic is currently fighting to keep open as the state holds its license in limbo. A court has ruled that the clinic can remain open until the state makes a decision on the clinic’s license.

Pritzker signs Reproductive Health Act

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Reproductive Health Act today in Springfield. The act guarantees abortion access as a fundamental right in Illinois. The State Journal-Register in Springfield reported that Pritzker signed the act surrounded by lawmakers. From the Journal-Register:
Surrounded by dozens of lawmakers and abortion rights advocates, Pritzker signed the controversial legislation that he said will ensure that Illinois is “going to be there for women if they have to be refugees from other states.”

“In a time when too many states across the nation are taking a step backward, Illinois is taking a giant step forward for women’s health,” Pritzker said. “Today, we proudly proclaim that in this state, we trust women.

Nevada joins states ensuring abortion access

CARSON CITY — Nevada ensured abortion access with the signing of two bills last week. TV station News 4 reported that Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, signed the bills on Friday. From News 4:
The first, Senate Bill 179 or the Trust Nevada Women Act, would decriminalize outdated abortion laws in Nevada. “I have been disappointed by the recent uptick in efforts in other states to restrict women’s right to choose, and I am especially proud today to be a Nevadan, where we protect a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her own body,” said Gov. Sisolak in his comments before signing this bill. The bill would remove punishments for those seeking an abortion and protect doctors who perform them.

Illinois Senate passes Reproductive Health Act

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Senate passed the Reproductive Health Act last Friday night before the end of the session. The bill, the most progressive reproductive health bill in the country, goes to the governor to be signed. Capitol News Illinois reported that the bill passed after more than 80 minutes of debate. The bill repeals abortion restrictions in Illinois and sets abortion access as a right, in direct opposition to a raft of anti-choice bills passed across the country. 

From Capitol News Illinois:

Sen. Melinda Bush, a Democrat from Grayslake and the bill’s sponsor in that chamber, said she hopes passage of the legislation will make the state “a beacon for the country.”

“I’m so proud that Illinois is standing up and saying, we’re not going back, we’re going to continue to fight and we’re going to make sure that women are equal here. Their reproductive rights are part of that,” she said.

Satanic Temple says members are exempt from Indiana fetal burial law

SALEM, Mass. — The Satanic Temple said that its members were exempt from Indiana’s fetal burial law, claiming first amendment protections. In a statement shared on the Facebook page of the Temple’s Indiana chapter, it said that one of their basic tenets is the inviolability of a person’s body and that non-viable fetal tissue is part of the woman who carries it. They said that the Indiana law, which requires cremation or burial of fetal remains, impacts burial rights and violates their religious beliefs and freedoms.

According the statement, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act requires the state to provide a reason why their religious rights should not be honored. This isn’t the first time the Satanic Temple has used laws pushed by religious conservatives to flip the script.

Iowa judge blocks law defunding Planned Parenthood sex ed

DES MOINES — An Iowa judge has temporarily blocked a law that defunds Planned Parenthood’s federal sexual education funding. The Des Moines Register reported Wednesday that Planned Parenthood of the Heartland sued the state after Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the law earlier this month. 

From the Des Moines Register:

In a ruling Wednesday, Polk County District Court Judge Joseph Seidlin granted Planned Parenthood’s request for a temporary injunction. The sections of the law blocking Planned Parenthood from accessing funding will now be temporarily blocked from taking effect until the lawsuit is resolved. The judge wrote that without the injunction, Planned Parenthood would likely be harmed by losing out on grant funding for the upcoming year, which is set to be awarded in the near future. The organization received about $268,000 from the two programs this year.

TV Station: Peoria abortion clinic to close

PEORIA — Whole Woman’s Health clinic in Peoria will be closing it’s doors, a local TV station reported Wednesday. WEEK-TV confirmed that the clinic, which provides abortion services, is closing, but with no firm date. The TV station received this statement from clinic president and CEO Amy Hagstrom:
“For four years, Whole Woman’s Health has been honored to provide compassionate abortion care to Peoria, Illinois, and the surrounding rural communities, where abortion is traditionally unavailable yet desperately needed. Whole Woman’s Health is committed to doing all that we can to serve the communities we are in, but unfortunately, it is no longer sustainable to keep our doors open in Peoria. We thank the residents of Peoria and central Illinois for welcoming us and trusting us to serve their community with safe, compassionate abortion care.”
WEEK-TV said that they couldn’t get any information if the clinic in Bloomington-Normal would close or a timeline for the Peoria clinic.

What the possible end of abortions in Missouri means for neighboring states

By Lauren Weber

ST. LOUIS — As the last abortion clinic in Missouri warned that it will have to stop providing the procedure as soon as Friday, abortion providers in surrounding states said they are anticipating an uptick of even more Missouri patients. At Hope Clinic in Granite City, Ill., just 10 minutes from downtown St. Louis, Deputy Director Alison Dreith said Tuesday her clinic was preparing for more patients as news about Missouri spread. “We’re really scrambling today about the need for increased staff and how fast can we hire and train,” Dreith said.

Illinois House passes Reproductive Health Act

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois House of Representatives has passed the Reproductive Health Act. It now goes to the State Senate. Equality Illinois said in a Facebook post that the bill passed 64-50. EI was one of the organizations backing the bill, including Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, ACLU of Illinois, Personal PAC, Men4Choice, and others. The bill would repeal both the state’s Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act and the Illinois Abortion Act of 1975, removing restrictions on abortions later in pregnancy, and expand insurance coverage for procedures and contraception.