As Missouri teeters on the brink of becoming the first state with no abortion clinics , a new Planned Parenthood center just across the Illinois border could help take patients who can't get abortions back home.
Planned Parenthood said it is opening a new 18,000-square-foot health center in Fairview Heights, Illinois -- just 15 miles from Missouri.
"We are thrilled to be able to better serve our patients through this new center, both in Southern Illinois and around the region," said Yamelsie Rodriguez, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.
The new facility is scheduled to open in mid-October. It will also provide annual exams, cancer screenings, birth control, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV prevention services.
It could see an influx of patients from Missouri, which this year passed a law that bans most abortions after eight weeks. US District Judge Howard Sachs in August blocked the law from going into effect .
The law "conflicts with the Supreme Court ruling that neither legislative nor judicial limits on abortion can be measured by specified weeks of development of a fetus; instead, 'viability' is the sole test for a State's authority to prohibit abortions where there is no maternal health issue," Sachs wrote .
Missouri is one of several states that recently passed laws limiting abortions to eight weeks or fewer. Illinois, on the other hand, allows abortions until the point of the fetus' viability .
Courts have typically blocked early-term abortion laws from going into effect, saying they're unconstitutional.
But anti-abortion activists say they hope legal challenges will go all the way to the US Supreme Court, which now has a conservative majority, so justices can reconsider Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.