Published: Sat, June 22, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Missouri denies Planned Parenthood clinic’s license; court order remains in place

Missouri denies Planned Parenthood clinic’s license; court order remains in place

Missouri's health department will not renew Planned Parenthood of St. Louis's license to perform abortions, according to a letter from the state's health department provided to CBS News.

The clinic in May filed a lawsuit against the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services - which mandated the exams - for refusing to make a decision on its license renewal.

The last Planned Parenthood clinic in the state of Missouri was scheduled to be closed at the end of May.

The health department withheld the renewal in part because it insisted that doctors at the clinic needed to submit to questioning about their methods.

The move, as CNN underscores, will make Missouri "the first state without an abortion clinic in nearly 50 years".

"We are inviting Planned Parenthood of Utah to leave the state of Utah", Boyack said.

However, if Planned Parenthood can show it is abiding by the laws and regulation here in the State of Missouri, it has every right, under the law, to have its license renewed and continue to provide patient services. Planned Parenthood sued the state and the case has been working through the court system.

On Monday, Judge Stelzer sealed the state's 62-page "Statement of Deficiencies" detailing the clinic's lack of compliance with the law.

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Calling the exam requirement "disrespectful and dehumanizing", a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman confirmed that as of Thursday the St. Louis clinic no longer performs it during a consultation at least 72 hours before an abortion.

Under the law, any person who performs an abortion after eight weeks - which is often before many women are aware they are pregnant - could be charged with a Class B felony punishable by five to 15 years in prison. Department officials said they needed to interview physicians who worked at the clinic about instances of care they said compromised patient safety.

Now, the judge will decide whether the license battle will stay within the jurisdiction of the court, or head to an administrative hearing.

In court on Friday, Judge Michael Stelzer allowed the preliminary injunction to stand until he made a final decision on what would happen next with the clinic.

DHSS director Dr. Randall Williams told reporters Friday that the agency would issue an emergency rule allowing pelvic exams closer to the time of the abortion if the clinic believes that it is best for the patient.

"Real medical centers take seriously the sacred pledge to "do no harm" to patients, but it's a travesty of justice that not only does Planned Parenthood care nothing about preborn babies, they don't really care about women either", Hawkins added.

The top United States court is now dominated by a conservative majority, including two justices appointed by President Donald Trump.

"What this case is about is not just Missouri, it's about our sister affiliates in other states across the country who might also be experiencing politically motivated regulatory restrictions", she said. Gov. Parson said the decision will be appealed.

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