by Mary Margaret Olohan
A judge ruled Friday to keep the last abortion clinic in Missouri open temporarily despite the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services’ refusal to renew the clinic’s license earlier in the day.
Hours before State Circuit Judge Michael Stelzer extended his preliminary injunction to keep the clinic open temporarily, DHSS refused to renew the St. Louis abortion clinic’s license, according to NBC News.
“Today is a victory for women to be able to access the kind of medical care that they and their health professionals need and deserve,” said M’Evie Mead, who heads policy and organizing at Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri, according to NBC.
“It is still very, very difficult to access abortion in Missouri because of medically unnecessary hoops and regulations, but you can still come to Planned Parenthood today for all of your reproductive health care,” Mead added. “And that is a good day for women.”
Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen has said if the Missouri clinic closes down, Missouri could be the only state in the United States since 1974 without an abortion clinic.
“BREAKING: Today, Missouri’s health department weaponized a regulatory process to deny an abortion license to the last remaining health center in Missouri that provides abortion. The fate of abortion access now rests in a court’s hands,” Planned Parenthood action tweeted Friday.
BREAKING: Today, Missouri’s health department weaponized a regulatory process to deny an abortion license to the last remaining health center in Missouri that provides abortion. The fate of abortion access now rests in a court’s hands. #BansOffMyBody #StoptheBans
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) June 21, 2019
Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in May after the Missouri DHSS refused to renew the clinic’s license.
Missouri DHSS explained its concerns in a statement, saying the abortion clinic was told in April that “due to ongoing concerns about potential deficient practices, interviews would need to be done with the physicians providing that care.”
“The continued refusal of several physicians to cooperate in interviews regarding DHSS’s ongoing complaint investigation obstructs the State’s ability to verify that this facility is in compliance with all requirements of applicable statutes and regulations, which Missouri law requires DHSS to do before renewing a license,” the department stated.
The statement lists allegations including Missouri law and regulations violations, incidents involving failure to provide standard patient care, unsuccessful abortion procedures, questionable quality control, communication with a contracted pathology lab and failure to obtain informed consent from patients.
Planned Parenthood did not respond to a request for comment from TheDCNF.
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