A new Planned Parenthood clinic opening in Illinois was hyped by CBS News, which reported on the organization’s efforts to launch new facilities in strategic locations.
The Illinois clinic, located in Fairview Heights, is the latest in Planned Parenthood’s strategy to open locations that are next to states with stricter anti-abortion laws.
(Video CBS News)
“Planned Parenthood is announcing the opening of a new mega facility close to states where abortion access is restricted,” co-host Gayle King announced on “CBS This Morning” Wednesday, touting the “ginormous” clinic.
“The new clinic was built in secret in Illinois near the Missouri border. Missouri has some of the strictest abortion laws in the country,” she said, turning to reporter Kate Smith. “What’s the significance of this new clinic? I keep hearing it’s ginormous and big.”
Smith revealed that the clinic, a “sensitive project” which she visited in August, was “being built in secret under the code name Alaska.”
“We know that our colleagues at other Planned Parenthoods and independent clinics across the country have had difficulty opening new clinics. Things as simple as getting the phone company to come and put phone and data lines. Things like the cabinet makers not showing up to deliver once they knew that that facility was going to be an abortion facility,” Dr. Colleen McNicholas, Planned Parenthood St. Louis Chief Medical Officer, told Smith.
The facility, which cost nearly $7 million to build and will service 11,000 patients a year, was “positioned to accommodate patients from nearby states with strict abortion laws,” McNicholas explained.
“In the last two years, the number of women crossing the Illinois borders for abortions has more than doubled,” she said.
Mary Kate Knorr, executive director of Illinois Right to Life, expressed her disgust with the conditions in the state.
“It’s a travesty that this is happening in our state. It’s a travesty that women come here to get an abortion,” she said.
McNicholas argued that the clinic’s location was to better serve patients who want “easier access.”
“And for some, the 13-mile drive from our St. Louis clinic to this Illinois clinic is an opportunity to get the care with less judgment, with less restriction, and with far fewer hoops to jump through,” she told Smith.
The “CBS This Morning” team applauded the efforts by the abortion provider.
“So it was a secret. It’s not a secret anymore. Bravo on the reporting,” co-host Tony Dokoupil declared.
King seemed to view the facility’s launch as a store grand opening.
“Are they getting a lot of business?” she asked the reporter.
“They are getting a lot of business,” Smith confirmed.
“As we said, the number of women crossing the border into Illinois to seek an abortion, that’s more than doubled. Their existing facilities can’t handle it,” she explained. “We were at one of those. It was in a little strip mall — you had to back up in order for someone to come by. We’re going to see the capacity more than double with the new facility.”
Dokoupil at least made an attempt to offer a reality check.
“Even with that, we should point out that nationally abortion is at an all-time low,” he said.
“That’s exactly right,” Smith agreed.
“Make no mistake – this new mega-facility is not a response to an increased demand, nor is it a gesture of care for women,” Knorr said in a statement on Facebook. “This facility was created to fill the gaping hole they’re seeing in their bottom line.”
Editor’s Note: A previous headline stated that the clinic was opened near Illinois. This has been corrected.
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