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MO AG: Plan B, contraception remain legal in Missouri; Saint Luke's not offering emergency contraception

St. Luke’s Health System no longer providing emergency contraception in Missouri
contraception
Posted at 11:32 PM, Jun 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-29 13:54:53-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — The Missouri Attorney General's office said Wednesday that the state's newly-enacted abortion law "does not prohibit the use or provision of Plan B or contraception."

Late Tuesday night, Saint Luke’s Health System said emergency contraception will not be provided at its Missouri-based locations.

The health system said its decision was in reaction to the Supreme Court's ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade and the health system's interpretation of Missouri's trigger law restricting abortion.

Press secretary for the Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt's Office Chris Nuelle clarified to KSHB 41 News on Wednesday that the use of contraception in Missouri is not banned.

Saint Luke's Health System informed KSHB 41 News Investigative Reporter Jessica McMaster that the statement from the attorney general's office is a significant development and that the response from Eric Schmitt's office would be shared with the Saint Luke's senior leadership and legal team. Saint Luke's said they will provide an update when they have additional information.

The spokesperson said on Tuesday night that one main factor for the decision is that Missouri's trigger law is ambiguous and may be interpreted as criminalizing emergency contraception.

"As a System that deeply cares about its team, we simply cannot put our clinicians in a position that might result in criminal prosecution," the statement said.

Saint Lukes also said they are not offering emergency contraception because it can still be provided at Kansas-based Saint Luke's facilities safely and legally.

"It may not always be the most convenient option for our patients, but for now, it is the best solution available," Saint Luke's Health System said in a statement.

The health system says it will continue to monitor the situation, and will follow this course of action to ensure it follows all state and federal laws until the law in Missouri becomes "better defined."

"Saint Luke’s continues to evaluate the implications of the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade and the subsequent implementation of Missouri’s trigger law restricting abortion," the statement said.

A University Health spokesperson told KSHB 41 News that the hospital system is continuing to provide emergency contraception to patients "since it is not in conflict with Missouri state law."

"Our priority continues to be providing safe, high-quality healthcare to our patients," University Health said in a statement.

A spokesperson from CVS Pharmacy told KSHB 41 that it will continue to offer emergency contraception, including Plan B and Aftera - in the state and without a prescription.

Read the full statement from Saint Luke's Health System below:

Saint Luke’s continues to evaluate the implications of the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade and the subsequent implementation of Missouri’s trigger law restricting abortion.

To ensure we adhere to all state and federal laws—and until the law in this area becomes better defined—Saint Luke’s will not provide emergency contraception at our Missouri-based locations.

The reasons for this are two-fold:

  • First, the Missouri law is ambiguous but may be interpreted as criminalizing emergency contraception. As a System that deeply cares about its team, we simply cannot put our clinicians in a position that might result in criminal prosecution.
  • Second, as a large bi-state health system, this care can be provided at our Kansas-based facilities safely, legally, and without putting our clinicians at legal risk. It may not always be the most convenient option for our patients, but for now, it is the best solution available.

Saint Luke’s will continue to monitor the situation to ensure the reproductive care we provide, including abortions for maternal medical emergencies, continues to comply fully with all applicable laws.