Missouri abortion clinic wins permanent injunction against revocation of its license, next step takes place June 30

By Dave Andrusko

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Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster

When last we wrote about U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster’s office had appealed her December decision to issue a preliminary injunction blocking the Missouri health department from revoking the license of one of the two abortion clinics in Missouri.

Judge Laughrey ruled that Missouri health officials likely violated the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause when they moved against the clinic in Columbia, Missouri.

Yesterday it was more of the same from a judge local pro-life activists say has a lengthy history of running interference for the abortion industry.

Laughrey granted Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri a permanent injunction, according to Rudi Keller of the Columbia Tribune.

The case has taken any number of twists and turns.

As reported in NRL News Today, under state law, an abortionist can perform or induce an abortion only if he or she has clinical privileges at a hospital that offers obstetrical or gynecological care within 30 miles of the location where the abortion is being performed.

U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey

U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey

Prior to a legislative investigation that began last July, abortionist Colleen McNicholas had what is known as “refer and follow” privileges with the University of Missouri Health Care. Under such an arrangement, the abortionist can refer a patient to the hospital’s doctors for follow up care, typically in an emergency.

However once the University of Missouri Health Care System’s medical system voted to discontinue this privilege (enjoyed by McNicholas and another physician), it meant the Columbia abortion clinic had to stop performing chemical abortions.

Planned Parenthood of Kansas City and mid-Missouri (PPKM) filed a federal lawsuit November 30, the day before the state Department of Health and Senior Services was set to revoke the facility’s license. Judge Laughrey issued a TRO, followed by a temporary injunction followed by a preliminary injunction.

In her decision yesterday, Laughrey wrote

“The evidence submitted to the Court indicates that DHSS’s unprecedented hasty actions were likely the result of political pressure being exerted by Missouri legislators and the Department’s perception that if it did not act in accordance with the legislature’s desires, its budget would be cut.”

But all is not lost. The license of the Columbia Planned Parenthood clinic expires in seven weeks. “During arguments before Laughrey, Planned Parenthood’s attorneys did not dispute that the clinic would lose the license on that date if no doctor with privileges or no new form of privileges for McNicholas is secured for the clinic,” Keller reported.

There is only one other abortion clinic in Missouri– in St. Louis–which performs both surgical and chemical abortions.