Washington D.C., Nov 14, 2019 / 12:10 pm (CNA).- A House of Representatives committee will hold a hearing on Thursday to investigate restrictions on abortion clinics passed in pro-life states.
The hearing, titled “Examining State Efforts to Undermine Access to Reproductive Health Care” will feature testimony from abortion advocates and the chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.
The hearing is being convened by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led by the majority-member Democrats.
Allie Stuckey, a new mother who hosts a podcast discussing politics and culture from a conservative, Christian perspective, is scheduled to be the minority witness.
The hearing will focus on recent laws passed in Missouri, which may become the first U.S. state without an abortion clinic. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), who chairs the House Oversight Committee, told NPR in a statement that Missouri has served as a “case study” in state resistance to abortion under the Trump administration.
“State governments have been emboldened in their efforts to restrict access to abortion by the Trump Administration’s systemic attacks on reproductive health care, including by dismantling the Title X federal family planning program and expanding providers’ ability to discriminate by denying care,” the Committee on Oversight and Reform said in a background explainer before the hearing.
The Trump administration announced a new policy that does not allow Title X fund recipients to perform abortions or refer people for abortions. Planned Parenthood, the nations’ largest abortion provider, lost millions in funding due to its refusal to stop providing abortions. Title X funds are designated for family-planning purposes.
Additionally, the administration has moved to protect conscience rights of doctors and other medical professionals who consider abortion to be against their religious beliefs.
The hearing also concerns the “draconian steps” taken by some states to limit the availability of abortion. Due to these new state laws, six states have only one abortion clinic.
Missouri’s last remaining abortion clinic was denied a state license earlier this year and was scheduled to close. It remains open only because of a court order.
Planned Parenthood sued the state of Missouri May 28 after the state’s health department declined to renew the clinic’s license. Representatives of the clinic have argued that there is no valid reason for state rules that mandate two pelvic exams before the administration of abortion-inducing drugs. It has also rejected state demands that officials interview its medical trainees on staff.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services rejected a license renewal request June 21 from the clinic, citing an “unprecedented lack of cooperation, failure to meet basic standards of patient care, and refusal to comply with state law and regulations.”
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