Judge says clinic can keep pro­vid­ing abor­tions

The News-Times - - NATION/WORLD -

A judge is­sued an or­der Fri­day to keep Mis­souri’s only abor­tion clinic op­er­at­ing over the ob­jec­tions of state health of­fi­cials, de­liv­er­ing abor­tion-rights ad­vo­cates a court­room vic­tory af­ter a string of set­backs in leg­is­la­tures around the U.S.

St. Louis Cir­cuit Judge Michael Stelzer said Planned Par­ent­hood’s St. Louis clinic can con­tinue pro­vid­ing abor­tions de­spite the Mis­souri health depart­ment’s re­fusal to re­new its li­cense over a va­ri­ety of patient safety con­cerns. He said the tem­po­rary re­strain­ing or­der was nec­es­sary to “pre­vent ir­repara­ble injury” to Planned Par­ent­hood.

With the abor­tion li­cense set to ex­pire at midnight Fri­day, Planned Par­ent­hood pre­emp­tively sued this week and ar­gued that the state was “weaponiz­ing” the li­cens­ing process. Planned Par­ent­hood said that ab­sent court in­ter­ven­tion, Mis­souri would be­come the first state with­out an abor­tion clinic since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade rul­ing that le­gal­ized the pro­ce­dure na­tion­wide.

The clinic’s li­cense will re­main in ef­fect un­til a rul­ing is is­sued on Planned Par­ent­hood’s re­quest for a per­ma­nent in­junc­tion, Stelzer’s rul­ing says. A hear­ing is set for Tues­day morn­ing.

“To­day is a vic­tory for women across Mis­souri, but this fight is far from over,” Planned Par­ent­hood Fed­er­a­tion of Amer­ica CEO Dr. Leana Wen said in a state­ment. “We have seen just how vul­ner­a­ble ac­cess to abor­tion care is here — and in the rest of the coun­try.”

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