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The latest news from every corner of the state, including policy emerging from Missouri's capitol.

Planned Parenthood to Open Mobile Abortion Clinic in Southern IL

Planned Parenthood Mobile Health Clinic Design
(Planned Parenthood)
Planned Parenthood hopes this is an approach that can be replicated in other parts of the country.

With the Dobbs ruling allowing states to restrict abortion access, health care practitioners have been forced to innovate in order to deliver care.

Planned Parenthood of the St Louis Region and Southwest Missouri announced last week it will provide reproductive health care via a mobile clinic parked in southern Illinois. They converted a 37-foot recreational vehicle into a mobile health care center, which will be able to conduct medication abortion for patients up to 11 weeks' gestation.

Dr. Colleen McNicholas, chief medical officer for the regional group, said the plan is to eventually expand services.

"Once we iron out the operational work of delivering medication abortion, we will be quickly looking to pivot to expanding that service line to include first-trimester procedural care as well," McNicholas explained.

Before the Dobbs decision, medication abortion accounted for more than half of all abortions. The clinic is expected to be able to see patients by the end of the year.

Demand for reproductive health services has increased dramatically in the wake of the Dobbs decision. At its Fairview Heights, Illinois, clinic, 20 miles from the Missouri border, Planned Parenthood reports there has been a 30% increase in abortion patients, with appointment wait times increasing from four days to two and a half weeks.

Yamelsie Rodriguez, president and CEO of the regional group, described the mobile unit.

"It has a standard lab, it has a little waiting room, it has two exam rooms that further down the road can be converted into procedural rooms for abortion care," Rodriguez outlined.

Planned Parenthood said the initial goal is to be able to serve 30 patients per day.

Missouri Public News Service is a partner with KRCU Public Radio.

Brett brings 7 years of radio news writing experience at Metro Source. His reporting expertise is in monetary policy, economic systems, resource distribution, rent-seeking, and neo-feudalism.