Abortion In Missouri Dealt Potentially Fatal Blow

Abortion clinic's fate officially in hands of circuit judge

Planned Parenthood protesters
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Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services did not allow the state's last remaining Planned Parenthood clinic to renew its license to perform abortions.

The state allowed the clinic's license to lapse at the end of May due to concerns stemming from an earlier investigation that found health violations at the clinic, the St. Louis American reported. Officials cited the clinic for 30 health violations in the past year, according to a May 2019 report, with four violations involving failed abortions. Two of the failed abortions resulted in patients being hospitalized.

State officials insisted on investigating health violations further, but were stonewalled by physicians at the clinic, who cited patient confidentiality.

Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit against the state when the clinic's abortion license lapsed on May 31, the Associated Press reported. A news release from the DHSS explained that the lawsuit was filed as the license's review process was still underway. Planned Parenthood accused the state of regulatory overreach and asked that the May 2019 report be thrown out.

St. Louis Circuit Court judge Michael Stelzer's preliminary injunction will allow the clinic to temporarily continue providing abortions pending his final decision on Planned Parenthood's lawsuit. Stelzer issued the preliminary injunction as a temporary method of addressing the lawsuit before he makes a final decision.

Stelzer gave the state a June 21 deadline to decide whether to renew the license or let it expire. The state's decision to let it expire placed the decision in the hands of the courts.

If Stelzer concurs with the state, then Missouri will become the first state in the nation to not have an abortion clinic. This would come on the heels of the state's passage of one of the most aggressively pro-life laws in the country.