The last abortion clinic in the state of Missouri has again lost its license and cannot perform the procedure.
The current license for the abortion center expired Friday and the Missouri Department of Health did not reissue it over repeated serious health conditions present at the Planned Parenthood facility. The clinic has consistently injured women in botched abortions requiring hundreds of ambulance calls as well as hospitalizations for women. In fact more than 70 women have been rushed to local hospitals after failed abortions at the Planned Parenthood Center.
Susan Klein, executive director of Missouri Right to Life, praised the action and said Planned Parenthood was at fault.
“The necessary actions taken today by the Missouri Department of Health are caused by Planned Parenthood alone and results from their inability to give quality healthcare to the women that seek their services,” stated Klein. “They have refused to discuss those deficiencies with the Department of Health and one can only surmise that those deficiencies have not been resolved.”
Contrary to Planned Parenthood public relations and media reports, abortion is still available to women in the state. Licensed hospitals still perform the procedure in emergencies such as the health of the mother.
Planned Parenthood sued Missouri health officials after they warned they would decline to renew the license of the Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis on the grounds it failed to meet their standards and a judge is slated to review that lawsuit and determine whether his temporary injunction letting the abortion center stay open will remain in place.
After the health department said it would not grant the license, State Circuit Court Judge Michael Stelzer held a short hearing and said it might be days before the court would come to a decision on whether the state could shut down its only abortion clinic.
“I think you guys are expecting an order soon. I don’t know that order is going to be today,” Stelzer said during the hearing, which lasted less than five minutes. He added that a preliminary injunction he previously issued to allow the clinic to continue perform abortions would remain in place for now.
With the facility closed Missouri is the first state in the nation with no open for-profit abortion businesses.
A Columbia, Missouri Planned Parenthood facility already lost its state license.
The facility in Columbia stopped doing abortions in October after it failed to comply with a state health regulation. Planned Parenthood appealed, but in february, U.S. District Judge Brian Wimes denied its request for a preliminary injunction.
The state requires that abortionists have hospital admitting privileges for patient emergencies and that abortion facilities meet the same basic health and safety standards as other ambulatory surgical centers. Planned Parenthood challenged the law, but Missouri won a victory when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit overturned an earlier ruling that blocked the state from enforcing the law.
Since then, the Columbia facility has had to stop doing abortions. In its appeal, it argued to Wimes that the admitting privileges law is an “undue burden” on women’s access to abortion, the AP reports.
Wimes disagreed. He said Planned Parenthood did not provide evidence of substantial burdens or show any attempts to comply with the hospital admitting privileges law, the Columbia Missourian reports.
“[T]he record does not provide a basis in evidence to approximate the number of women who will forego or postpone surgical abortion incidental to the inoperability of the Columbia Facility,” the judge wrote.
He also said increased drive times to abortion facilities are not a substantial enough burden to merit a preliminary injunction.
The abortion facility and the state have been fighting in court since 2015.
Williams, an experienced ob-gyn and director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, explained the importance of the health regulations to the court in 2018:
After surgical abortions, some complications will be immediate and will require emergency transfer to a hospital from the abortion facility for emergency care. Some complications, both immediate and delayed, will be life-threatening and require hospitalization and/or surgical procedures in a time-sensitive manner. Patient safety is most at risk at the time of complications. Having a physician who can follow the patient from the abortion facility to a nearby hospital where the physician has privileges and can provide the life-saving treatment commonly associated with the usual major complications or timely treatment of other complications is part of the responsibility a physician undertakes when he or she agrees to provide that patient’s elective care. …
When the physician performing the abortion has privileges at a nearby hospital, this provides continuity of care from that physician to whom the patient has entrusted her care, with whom she has an ongoing relationship, and who knows her best. The physician can accompany her to the hospital and be there for her with his or her expertise to immediately treat her complication.
In September, Missouri won a victory when the Eighth Circuit overturned a 2017 ruling that blocked the state from enforcing the law.
A Planned Parenthood facility in Kansas City, Missouri also lost its abortion clinic license last summer after struggling for months to find a new abortionist. Without one, the abortion facility was not able to complete its annual state inspection, a requirement for licensure.
Planned Parenthood also had plans to open abortion facilities in Joplin and Springfield, but it has not been able to meet licensing requirements at those locations either.