The previous month, Planned Parenthood made the announcement that it would launch its first mobile abortion clinic. This clinic will be a fully functional medical facility that will be parked in southern Illinois. The goal is to reduce the barriers that stand in the way of people seeking abortion care in nearby states where the practice is illegal.
“Our priority is making sure that the constituents who have been left behind in those states have access to basic health care,” said Dr. Colleen McNicholas, chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis region and southwest Missouri.
The mobile unit has a laboratory, as well as two exam rooms and a waiting area. According to the non-profit group, by the end of this year, medical abortions will be provided there in the form of pills, and in the following year, they will be provided in the form of surgical operations.
Employees of Planned Parenthood saw the opening of the mobile center as an act of activism in reaction to the Supreme Court’s June decision to overturn the Roe v. Wade judgment. Since then, the number of abortions done at the organization’s clinic in southern Illinois on people from outside of Illinois and Missouri has gone up by 370%.
“We’re really at a critical moment, a public health crisis where we need folks to be thinking differently, to be working together, to be acting boldly, and to be taking risks,” McNicholas said.
At first, the RV will have both a security guard and cameras set up all over the vehicle.
“We were really thoughtful about the safety and security of the unit,” McNicholas said.
But some are against it.
Planned Parenthood’s mobile medical facility was described as “extremely reckless” by Sam Lee, a lobbyist for Campaign Life Missouri, an organization that opposes abortion rights. Lee also said that the organization is “trying to recruit Missouri women.”
“When a woman has a complication, where can you go back to get help when that abortion van is gone?” he said.
Instead, Lee said that he wants to see a greater allocation of resources made available for options for pregnant women in the state of Missouri, such as pregnancy centers and assistance with housing.
According to what he had to say, the issue “always boils back to, for women who are uncertain about their decision or who are being pressured into their decision, being offered actual alternatives.”