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New rules on Missouri abortion clinics set to take effect

Additional regulations on fire drills, pelvic exams, and record-keeping kick in on Oct. 13
Credit: AP
FILE - In this June 4, 2019, file photo, anti-abortion advocates gather outside the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis. A federal appeals court panel is weighing the fate of a sweeping Missouri abortion law, including a provision that prohibits a woman from having an abortion because the fetus has Down syndrome. A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis heard arguments Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, in the legal battle over the 2019 measure that bans abortions at or after eight weeks of pregnancy. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Republican Gov. Mike Parson's administration has enacted more rules on Missouri abortion clinics.

The new emergency regulations, which take effect Oct. 13, require abortion providers to cooperate with state health department investigators and ensure physicians perform pelvic exams 72 hours before abortions, if medically necessary.

The regulations also require the health department to refer rule violations to the state's Medicaid Audit and Compliance Unit, which reviews whether medical providers meet requirements to receive Medicaid funding.

Other rules require abortion providers to make sure all employees participate in annual fire drills and properly date records.

A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood in Missouri told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the new regulations might violate federal Medicaid rules by singling out the organization.

The new rules come after Missouri Republicans have tried for years to block all Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood, which is already prohibited from using Medicaid funds for abortion except when the mother’s life is in danger or in the cases of rape and incest.

MORE: Missouri Republicans move to cut Planned Parenthood funds

State senators last week recommended that Missouri cancel abortion providers’ Medicaid contracts based on behavior in other states deemed illegal or unethical.

Lawmakers also recommended that the health department and Medicaid auditors share inspection information, similar to the new agency rules.