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Planned Parenthood has announced that it is opening a new 18,000-square foot 'mega-clinic' in southern Illinois after more than a year of secret construction.
The new facility, in Fairview Heights, will begin accepting patients earlier this month and can serve as many as 11,000.
Clinic - Miles - St - Louis - Missouri
The clinic is only 13 miles from St Louis, where Missouri's last abortion clinic remains and is fighting to stay open.
It's also close to the borders of states such as Arkansas and Kentucky, where abortion laws are much stricter than they are in Illinois.
CBS - News - Parenthood - Shell - Company
According to CBS News, Planned Parenthood used a shell company to build the clinic under the code name 'Alaska'.
Dr Colleen McNicholas, chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood of the St Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, told CBS News that the clinic was built in secret to avoid protests or construction delays.
'We - Project - Writing - Wall - Dr
'We were really intentional and thoughtful about making sure that we were able to complete this project as expeditiously as possible because we saw the writing on the wall,' Dr McNicholas said.
'Patients need better access, so we wanted to get it open as quickly as we could.'
CBS - News - Parenthood - Construction - Projects
She told CBS News that other Planned Parenthood construction projects have been stonewalled after the public learned that abortions would be provided at the sites.
Dr McNicholas said that, for one clinic, a communications company refused to install telephone lines and internet service.
Clinic - Cabinet - Maker - Order
For another clinic, a cabinet maker took an order, but then refused to deliver it.
The new Illinois facility is set to begin...
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