Planned Parenthood announced on Oct. 2 a new 18,000-square-foot mega-abortion clinic in southern lllinois near St. Louis, a project it had previously kept secret, according to reports.
The new clinic is in Fairview Heights, 13 miles from Missouri’s last operating abortion clinic in St. Louis.
Since August 2018, Planned Parenthood has used a shell company to construct the mega-facility: a former medical office, CBS News reported. The clinic, which costs $7 million, will become one of the largest abortion clinics in the country.
According to Colleen McNicholas, chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood of St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, the clinic was built “in secret to avoid protestors and delays.”
Other Planned Parenthood projects had run into problems with technology installation and furniture orders when people realized the construction was for an abortion provider, according to CBS News.
For example, in Birmingham, Ala., protestors targeted Planned Parenthood suppliers with “fake negative reviews” on social media.
Planned Parenthood said it expects the clinic in Fairview Heights will begin providing services later this month.
Because of abortion restrictions in surrounding states — including in Missouri, where most abortions are banned after eight weeks of pregnancy — women in the Midwest have reportedly been flocking to Illinois, where abortion is legal with fewer restrictions.
Since 2017, the number of women who come to Illinois from out of state for an abortion has more than doubled, according to the Associated Press.
In June, the Reproductive Health Act, which establishes access to abortion as a fundamental right, was signed into law in Illinois.
“It’s a travesty that this is happening in our state,” said Mary Kate Knorr, executive director of Illinois Right to Life. “It’s a travesty that women come here to get an abortion.”