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Planned Parenthood clinic under construction in Fairview Heights

The exterior of a new Planned Parenthood facility that is under construction in Fairview Heights, shown in an Oct. 2, 2019, photo.

FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS - Opening day for the new Fairview Heights Planned Parenthood clinic, which will provide abortion services, will be Wednesday, Oct. 23.

The clinic, constructed in secret inside an existing but previously vacant medical office building, is scheduled to open for patient services on that day, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri said in a news release.

“While continuing to fight for health care in Missouri, the new health center just across the river is a testament to the needs of the greater region and the commitment to quality, affordable care — no matter what,” Planned Parenthood said in its news release.

A week and a half after anti-abortion activists rallied outside of the future Planned Parenthood clinic, the agency which provides abortions among other services, plans to hold a rally of its own.

On Monday afternoon, Planned Parenthood of St. Louis Region and southwest Missouri, plans to have a rally and ribbon-cutting for its new Fairview Heights facility.

In the news release, Planned Parenthood said “supporters, health care providers and patients will come together to celebrate the opening ... of the new state of the art health center.”

The rally and ribbon-cutting will take place at 5:30 p.m. at the new clinic.

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On Oct. 9, hundreds of anti-abortion activists rallied outside of the property, which is surrounded by a black iron fence, calling the new facility “an act of desperation” by Planned Parenthood and calling on Fairview Heights to not allow the facility to open.

The new 18,000-square-foot facility at 317 Salem Place in Fairview Heights will provide surgical and medication abortions, family planning services, annual exams, sexually transmitted infection testing and HIV prevention.

Construction of the clinic took place as abortion access is being restricted in Missouri but has expanded in Illinois. Missouri’s only licensed abortion provider, the Planned Parenthood location on Forest Park Avenue in St. Louis, will continue providing surgical abortions. That facility is involved in a battle over whether it can keep its license.

Planned Parenthood is also fighting Missouri in court over its new law to criminalize abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy. A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction pausing the abortion ban while it is litigated.

Customarily, when a new business holds a ribbon cutting event, usually organized by a chamber of commerce, a representative from the municipality attends.

Fairview Heights Mayor Mark Kupsky said the city administration had not been informed of Monday’s ribbon cutting event. He said he also would be out of town on business on Monday.

Kupsky has said the city was not aware Planned Parenthood was building its new clinic and the city offices had received many calls and emails from people expressing concern about the facility.

“This is a very political issue,” Kupsky said. “I don’t know if someone from the city will attend or not.”

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