KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) – Saint Luke’s Health System announced Wednesday afternoon that, after an internal review, it will resume providing emergency contraceptives like Plan B to patients.
The health system, which has locations in both Missouri and Kansas, was the first in the Kansas City area to announce it would stop providing emergency contraception to patients at its Missouri hospitals and clinics.
In a statement, the health system said it evaluated and made the decision following the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade and Missouri’s trigger law that restricts abortion. The hospital system said in a statement it would stop providing Plan B “until the law in this area becomes better defined.”
But several hours later, Saint Luke’s said it has reevaluated and changed course.
The health system released a new statement Wednesday afternoon:
Saint Luke’s Health System is aware of and continues to closely monitor legal developments regarding Missouri’s abortion trigger law, including recent comments from the Missouri Attorney General’s Office and the Governor of Missouri regarding the use of emergency contraceptives.
Following further internal review, Saint Luke’s will now resume providing emergency contraceptives, under new protocols, at all Missouri-based Saint Luke’s hospitals and clinics. However, the ambiguity of the law, and the uncertainty even among state officials about what this law prohibits, continues to cause grave concern and will require careful monitoring. This is especially true because the penalty for violation of the statute includes the criminal prosecution of health care providers whose sole focus is to provide medically necessary care for their patients.
As a faith-based organization, Saint Luke’s stands firmly with the Episcopal Church in supporting the rights of all patients to make medical decisions in consultation with their health care providers. We believe this is when health care is at its best.
According to Chris Nuelle at the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, “Missouri law does not prohibit the use or provision of Plan B, or contraception.”
Nexstar’s WDAF has also checked with other health care providers and hospitals in the Kansas City metro area. As of Wednesday afternoon, there did not appear to be additional facilities that had stopped prescribing Plan B.
The University Health medical center in downtown Kansas City, meanwhile, has confirmed plans to continue providing access to Plan B.
“University Health will continue to provide emergency contraception since it is not in conflict with Missouri state law,” a representative for the health system stated.
“Our priority continues to be providing safe, high-quality healthcare to our patients.“
While mostly in Kansas, University of Kansas Health does operate some clinics in Missouri. This health system, too, will still offer emergency contraception as it reviews the change in Missouri’s law.