Planned Parenthood goes to court to keep last abortion clinic in Missouri open

By Dave Andrusko

The headlines talk about abortion not being available in Missouri by week’s end, but the truth, as always, is more complicated.

It is unquestionably true that the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis is the state’s lone remaining abortion clinic. After that the situation gets more tangled.

The Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services and the Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region are in a pitched battle over a renewal of the abortion clinic’s license, which expires Friday. Today Planned Parenthood took its grievances to the Circuit Court in St. Louis, no doubt looking for a temporary restraining order.

According to Kate Smith of CBS News, “a spokesperson for The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, told CBS News on Tuesday morning via email that Planned Parenthood’s license was ‘under review,’ and did not respond to additional questions.”

Thus the remainder of Smith’s story (as in the case with all the other accounts I read), is based largely on conversations with Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood’s version is that there were three issues the state had with the abortion clinic and that Planned Parenthood had addressed two of them but that the “third request is out of its control.”

Planned Parenthood told the Associated Press that the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services [DHSS] had told officials “it was investigating ‘a large number of possible deficiencies.’ The state wanted to interview seven physicians, but the organization said only the two staff physicians agreed to be interviewed. Those interviews will take place later Tuesday.”

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Dr. Randall Williams, director of DHSS, told that the newspaper

The state would make a decision by Friday on whether to renew the facility’s license.

Before Planned Parenthood officials’ comments Tuesday morning, Williams said he could not comment on the pending license renewal application.

Jack Suntrup of the Post-Dispatch concluded his story with the following nugget:

Meanwhile, the ACLU of Missouri submitted a referendum to the Missouri secretary of state’s office on Tuesday in an effort to repeal the abortion law Parson, a Republican, signed last week.

The ACLU and allies will have to collect more than 100,000 signatures and turn them into the secretary of state before Aug. 28, when the law is supposed to go into effect.

If the group turns in enough signatures, the state will not be allowed to enact the law. At that point, a simple majority of voters could veto the law once it is placed on the ballot in 2020.