CBS News has learned that Planned Parenthood has been using a shell company to construct a facility “leaving no public trace that the former medical office would become one of the largest abortion clinics in the country.” But after over a year of “secret construction” Planned Parenthood announced its newest clinic today in souther Illinois, near the Missouri border.
The clinic is 18,000 square feet and only 13 miles away from Missouri’s “last remaining abortion clinic, a facility in St. Louis fighting to keep its license.” The chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood for the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, Colleen McNicholas, noted that the secrecy was on purpose to avoid any hiccups or delays.
McNichols told CBS News “We were really intentional and thoughtful about making sure that we were able to complete this project as expeditiously as possible because we saw the writing on the wall – patients need better access, so we wanted to get it open as quickly as we could.”
Concern to open a facility quickly and swiftly comes in part from the concern of Planned Parenthood and pro-choice advocates’ fear that a Conservative Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade that effectively legalized abortion in 1973. Additionally, CBS reports that “So far this year, state politicians have introduced 300 bills restricting access to abortion, according to data compiles by the Guttmacher Institute.”
Missouri has some of the strictest abortion laws causing majority of patients to cross the border into Illinois for the procedure. “Since 2017, the number of women crossing the border into Illinois for an abortion has doubled.”
The new mega-clinic is hoping to provide access to the women of Missouri who “face some of the country’s most restrictive laws when seeking an abortion.” Specifically, “prior to receiving an abortion, patients are required to undergo state-mandated counseling where they receive anti-abortion literature. After that, they’re forced to wait at least 72 hours before they can have their abortion.”