By Dave Andrusko
The tweet yesterday from Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley was short and to the point:
Josh Hawley @HawleyMO
Wrong decision from judge striking down MO laws protecting health & safety of women. I will appeal.
Hawley was referring to the 17-page decision handed down Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs in which Sachs blocked two laws– one requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles, the other requiring abortion clinics to meet the requirements of ambulatory surgical centers.
“The abortion rights of Missouri women, guaranteed by constitutional rulings, are being denied on a daily basis, in irreparable fashion,” Sachs wrote. “The public interest clearly favors prompt relief.”
Earlier this month, as NRL News Today reported, Sachs granted a preliminary injunction, adding that he was giving the legislature time to change the law. The very pro-life Missouri legislature declined his offer.
In fact, on Wednesday the Missouri House responded by advancing legislation that would require state inspections of abortion clinics, prohibit the sale or donation of the body parts of aborted babies, and, in the case of minors seeking an abortion, the requirement that two parents be notified.
In a statement given to local newspapers, Hawley expanded on his tweet. “Today a federal court struck down large portions of Missouri law that protect the health and safety of women who seek to obtain an abortion,” Hawley said. “This decision was wrong. I will appeal. Missouri has an obligation to do everything possible to ensure the health and safety of women undergoing medical procedures in state licensed medical facilities.”
To Judge Sachs, the case was open-and-shut. The Supreme Court’s 2016 Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision, he wrote, addressed similar issues raised by a Texas law, HB 2. Sachs added insult to injury, writing that “accepting Missouri’s contention that he should reappraise the abortion safety issue would be akin to trying to undermine the Supreme Court’s 1954 school desegregation decision in Brown v. Board of Education,” according to reporter Dan Margolies.
Missouri currently has one abortion clinic–Planned Parenthood in St. Louis–which performs both surgical and chemical abortions. A grateful Planned Parenthood told Celeste Bott of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “the organization will begin the process of restoring abortion services at health centers in Columbia and Kansas City and to begin performing them in Joplin and Springfield, Mo.”