Just In: Missouri Finally Makes Decision, Last Abortion Clinic Will Not Get License Renewed
The Show Me State is showing what it’s made of.
Missouri’s state health department on Friday declined to renew an abortion license for a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis, the only abortion clinic in the state, ratcheting up a dispute that has pushed Missouri into the front lines of the pro-life cause.
Now, the fate of the clinic is in a judge’s hands.
According to the Kansas City Star, the health department’s decision was announced just before a court hearing was scheduled to begin in St. Louis City Circuit Court.
The decision has no immediate impact, however, because the clinic has been operating under a preliminary injunction that was granted after Planned Parenthood sued to stay open even after its license lapsed on May 31 and its renewal application was not approved.
But it was the latest twist in a long-running dispute for the Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Center.
The state Department of Health and Human Services had refused to approve the renewal because of concerns about safety and conditions at the clinic, including “three failed abortions,” according to The Associated Press.
The state also demanded to interview all seven doctors who perform abortions at the clinic, but only two would agree to speak.
The remaining five physicians work on a contract basis rather than for Planned Parenthood directly, and the organization said it could not order them to talk to state inspectors.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, Planned Parenthood submitted paperwork announcing it would no longer perform pelvic examinations before abortions are performed, as mandated by the state, according to the Star.
Questionable procedures. Doctors who won’t talk to the state. Deliberate defiance in refusing to perform required examinations. How could anyone think an organization like that doesn’t care about women’s health?
The health department’s decision not to renew the clinic’s license means the dispute will now go to the state’s Administrative Hearing Commission, the Star reported.
Regardless of the details, the fight over Missouri’s the clinic is the freshest front in the battle against abortion in the United States.
In May, Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, signed a law that prohibits abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy, according to the AP. The law has exemptions for medical emergencies, but not for rape or incest.
That puts the state in the company of Republican-led, pro-life states such as Georgia and Alabama which have severely restricted abortions – and even threatened to put abortionists in prison.
And while what happens next in Missouri remains to be seen, it’s clear it’s going to roil the courts.
“The state in its denial letter today stated that it didn’t want any more conversations so it really is in the court’s hands,” said M’Evie Mead, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri spokeswoman, according to the Star.
For many on the pro-life side, it’s in much higher hands than that. In any case, the Show Me State is showing it isn’t backing down.
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