- Associated Press - Sunday, July 19, 2015

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Planned Parenthood has announced that a Columbia clinic plans to resume providing abortions in August after hiring a new physician.

The Columbia Health Center received its license as an abortion facility this past week, the Columbia Daily Tribune (https://bit.ly/1COH0el ) reports. The facility was licensed to perform abortions until 2012, when the physician who provided abortions resigned.

The clinic suspended abortion services for more than two years while it searched for a replacement physician.

“It took time to find the right physician for Columbia,” said Laura McQuade, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. McQuade said Missouri requires a number of additional credentials before authorizing a physician to provide abortions.

Through the end of 2015, the facility will only offer medical abortions, which are induced with a pill in early pregnancy, said McQuade. The center plans to begin offering surgical abortions in early 2016.

Missouri’s only other abortion clinic is in St. Louis; women in western Missouri could visit a Planned Parenthood facility in Overland Park, Kansas. That can be challenging for women in the middle part of the state because Missouri law requires women to wait 72 hours between consenting to an abortion and undergoing one.

“It made access very difficult,” McQuade said of previously having only one location in the state. “It’s really important there’s another option.”

Kathy Forck, a campaign director with the Columbia chapter of anti-abortion group 40 Days for Life, said she was surprised to hear the Columbia location had received its license from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Forck said she contacted the department Thursday and was told Planned Parenthood had not received the license needed to perform abortions. Forck said she made a Sunshine Law request Thursday to see the facility’s license. The agency’s website was updated Friday and lists Columbia Planned Parenthood as a licensed abortion facility.

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Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, https://www.columbiatribune.com

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