The Kansas City Star on the possible closure of Missouri’s only remaining abortion clinic:
Missouri’s only remaining abortion clinic may close Friday — the result of a relentless and unconstitutional campaign against women that’s been led by state officials, the legislature and Gov. Mike Parson.
Without a court order, Missouri could become the first state in the union in more than four decades to have zero abortion providers, threatening the rights of more than one million reproductive-age women in the state.
“Missouri would be the first state in the country to go dark, without a health center that provides safe, legal abortion care,” said Leana Wen, the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “This is a real public health crisis.”
A state official said Tuesday that a final decision on the St. Louis clinic will be made by Friday.
Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of St. Louis filed a lawsuit Tuesday, asking the court to keep the facility open. Among other things, the suit argues that closing the clinic would threaten poor women, as well as women in rural areas who would have to travel to other states to obtain needed medical services if the clinic is closed.
For that reason alone, the court should order Missouri to renew the facility’s license.
But this is also a political and constitutional crisis. Missouri’s efforts to prevent women from obtaining safe, legal abortions violates the fundamental rights of its citizens, no matter where they live or how much they earn.
In recent weeks, Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services has tried to close the state’s only clinic through a series of inspections and requests that serve no real purpose other than to shut the facility down. The lawsuit lists a series of meetings and messages in which the clinic attempted to address the state’s cooked-up licensing concerns, to no avail.
“It has long been the State’s objective to eliminate abortion access in Missouri,” Planned Parenthood says. “And the State has come close to succeeding, using a series of medically irrelevant and onerous requirements to prevent health centers that stand ready to provide abortion services from being allowed to do so.”
In Missouri, lawmakers have imposed a flood of regulations aimed at making it all but impossible for facilities providing this legal procedure to remain open. The state’s threat to pull the last remaining clinic’s license is confirmation that abortion opponents are in grave danger of succeeding.
Shamefully, Missouri could provide the country with its first glimpse of what life after an overturned Roe v. Wade would look like. The prospects are frightening, and women’s rights are disappearing before our eyes.
No one from the governor’s office or the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services immediately responded to a request for comment on the case. The reason seems obvious: Missouri’s abortion regulations have nothing to do with protecting patient health or safety. They’re designed to stop a legal procedure that some lawmakers and bureaucrats oppose.
That opposition continues to do serious damage to Missouri’s reputation. Companies won’t want to conduct business in a state so hostile to women’s rights. Who would choose to move to Missouri, or study at its universities, or contribute to its economy when women are considered second-class citizens?
Even some prominent Republicans agree with this concern. A petition drive is now underway to put the most recent restrictions, which criminalize abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy with no exceptions for rape or incest, up for a public vote in 2020. So, the state’s voters could have the opportunity to protect the Constitution and the right to this procedure.
Until then, though, the court should keep the St. Louis clinic open.
After that, the case could wind its way through the state’s courts, and land on the desk of the state Supreme Court. That’s what happened in Kansas, and now the fundamental right to an abortion is embedded in that state’s constitution.
The governor and other state officials are trying to prevent women from exercising their rights. The courts, and voters, must stop them.
China Daily on tourism between China and the U.S.:
Tourists from the Chinese mainland like destinations that are convenient, secure, and friendly.
The United States used to satisfy all three. But not so much lately.
Counting in visits for sightseeing, family reunions, education, business and medical purposes, travel from the Chinese mainland to the United States dropped 5.7 percent in 2018, according to the US National Travel and Tourism Office.
That slide rings alarm bells because it follows 14 consecutive years of growth.
According to the Big-Data Report on Outbound Chinese Tourists in 2018 released by the China National Tourism Administration, none of the top 10 foreign cities favored by Chinese tourists was in the US.
As many have observed, the latest spat between the two governments, which started in March 2018 when Washington announced it would impose punitive tariffs on Chinese imports and which seems to be spreading increasingly beyond trade, is no doubt a factor to blame.
But along with escalating tit-for-tat trade blows, the overall atmosphere for bilateral communication has been deteriorating, and this has inevitably affected people-to-people exchanges.
Sporadic as they may be, reports about Chinese nationals having their US visas nullified at airports and/or being inappropriately treated by law enforcement personnel, Chinese-Americans losing their jobs for alleged connections with China’s government, the clamor to restrict Chinese students’ access to high-tech majors in US colleges, and the rising pitch of the China-bashing rhetoric have all contributed to dissuading many Chinese from visiting the US.
Compared with the 2017 Chinese National Day holiday, Chinese bookings of US-bound flights for the 2018 Golden Week fell 42 percent. Indeed, why should people receive a cold shoulder when there are plenty of more hospitable places to go?
With options for overseas travel continuing to broaden, and people’s tastes diversifying, more and more Chinese are being attracted to more affordable, accessible and amiable destinations.
Given there is no sign that a trade deal will be reached any time soon, a further drop in people-to-people visits between the two countries seems inevitable.
And as the hysteria to deny Chinese students access to US colleges persists, there may be a sizable fall in the number of Chinese students on US campuses.
Chinese students now account for one-third of all international students in the US. If the present fearmongering persists in the US, this may change quite soon, as more and more otherwise incoming Chinese students will have to avoid the US for overseas education.
For decades, people-to-people exchanges have helped break down barriers and promote mutual understanding between the US and China. But the actions of the current administration threaten to undo all that good work by building a wall of enmity between the two peoples.