Judge extends TRO keeping state from revoking the license of one of Missouri’s two abortion clinic

By Dave Andrusko

U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey

U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey

U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey extended a temporary restraining order set to expire yesterday, meaning the Columbia Planned Parenthood will keep its license to perform abortions until at least December 30.

However, because the clinic–one of two abortion clinics in Ohio–has not hired an abortionist with admitting privileges at a local hospital, as required by state law, it cannot provide abortions.

The Columbia clinic performs only chemical, not surgical, abortions. The state’s other abortion clinic, in St. Louis, performs both surgical and chemical abortions.

“State Solicitor General James Layton argued Wednesday that there’s no harm in allowing the state to immediately revoke the license because no abortions are being performed there anyway, a fact that Laughrey instead cited in her ruling in Planned Parenthood’s favor,” The Associated Press reported.

According to the Columbia Missourian

“The facts as presented today suggest the plaintiff has received its fair treatment, and that other ASCs (ambulatory surgical centers) in PPKM’s (Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri) position would not have had their licenses revoked until the next annual inspection, at the earliest. …Neither patient nor public welfare is at risk by plaintiff maintaining its license.”

Missouri Solicitor General James Layton

Missouri Solicitor General James Layton

Prior to last September, abortionist Colleen McNicholas enjoyed “refer and follow” privileges with University of Missouri Health Care. Under such an arrangement, the abortionist could refer a patient to the hospital’s doctors for follow up care, typically in an emergency.

That changed, according to Rudi Keller of the Columbia Tribune, when the Center for Medical Progress began publicizing its undercover videos featuring high-ranking Planned Parenthood officials:

A legislative investigation into the disposition of fetal tissue in Missouri also dug into the new license and put a spotlight on the relationship between the university and Planned Parenthood.

Former Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin initiated the reviews and the executive committee of the medical staff of MU Health Care voted to discontinue the “refer and follow” privileges on Dec. 1.

In a Monday news release, Laura McQuade, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri which brought the lawsuit, said the Columbia clinic has tried unsuccessfully to find other abortionists with local hospital admitting privileges.

“Obtaining privileges at a hospital is a tedious, not to mention, medically unnecessary requirement that can take six months, or even more, to fulfill,” McQuade said in the news release. “MU Health Care imposed an impossible timeline for our physician when it terminated Dr. McNicholas’ privileges just more than two months ago.”

PPFA and supporters had hoped to pressure interim University of Missouri Chancellor Hank Foley to reverse the school’s decision. But in a statement issued Monday afternoon, Foley said the university had not changed its position.

“The issue of abortion invokes much depth of emotion and passion; I understand this,” Foley said. “However, as a state and federally funded university with a health system, we are required to follow applicable state and federal laws.”

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