Judge declines to block law’s safety requirement, Missouri down to one abortion clinic in St. Louis

By Dave Andrusko

U.S. Western District Court Judge Brian Wimes

Following on the heels of a pro-life decision by the 8th District Court of Appeals, U.S. Western District Court Judge Brian Wimes on Tuesday refused to block Missouri’s law that requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles and abortion clinics to meet the requirements of ambulatory surgical centers.

Last month the federal appeals court vacated a May 2017 preliminary injunction issued by U.S District Judge Howard Sachs. “The judges issued a mandate Monday for that rule to officially take effect,” the Associated Press reported.

On Tuesday Judge Wimes refused to issue a restraining order or injunction to block the requirement.

As we have reported on many occasions [for example here and here], the Columbia Planned Parenthood clinic has been unable to secure a physician with admitting privileges at a nearby hospital in case of emergencies.

In addition, as the Columbia Tribune’s Rudi Keller reported, if problems are found at the annual licensing inspection, “the problems must be corrected on a re-inspection, a process that continues until all issues are resolved.” And inspectors found numerous deficiencies.

The department visited the clinic Aug. 14 and again on Sept. 26.

“When I and the Department’s inspectors entered the Columbia facility for the follow-up inspection on September 26, 2018, I fully expected that all deficiencies identified in the August 14, 2018, Statement of Deficiencies would have been corrected, particularly given that the license expires October 2, 2018,” William Koebel, administrator for the department’s Section for Health Standards and Licensure, wrote to the court. “Instead, I and the inspectors found that some of those items still had not been corrected.”

The inspection last Wednesday found rust on the cabinets of suction machines, a condition that was also found Aug. 14. Inspectors also found a hose on a machine that appeared to have mold inside and another hose with residue that appeared to be bodily fluids, Koebel wrote.

Planned Parenthood argued the problems were corrected but the Health Department was dragging its feet in conducting a re-inspection. Koebel disagreed.

According to Keller’s story

Any delays are the result of the standard departmental procedures, Koebel wrote. After a statement of deficiencies is delivered to a licensee, the department must receive a formal correction plan before scheduling a re-inspection, he wrote.

“It is not part of the standard licensure renewal inspection process for facilities to file affidavits in federal court rather than affording the department the opportunity to review the facilities’ plan of correction and revisit the facility to confirm that the deficiencies have been corrected,” he wrote.