By Dave Andrusko
It’s like déjà vu all over again. The headline to the Associated Press story which ran in the Washington Post today is “The Latest: Missouri abortions continue, advocates celebrate.”
Since the state Department of Health and Senior Services [DHSS] had denied Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri’s license renewal request just last Friday, of course Planned Parenthood’s Central West End clinic would celebrate that Commissioner Sreenivasa Rao Dandamudi of the Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission had granted them a motion for stay.
The stay “will allow abortions to continue until he hears Planned Parenthood’s case later this year,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. “A court date is currently scheduled for Aug. 1,” according to Jack Suntrup.
But that merely means the Commissioner Dandamudi was following the directions of an order issued by St. Louis Circuit Judge Michael Stelzer. As we reported, Stelzer merely extended a preliminary injunction he’d previously issued which had allowed the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis to continue performing abortions up through June 21.
Was the judge saying that the state health department had erred when it declined to renew the clinic’s license to perform abortions? No! In fact he “kicked the clinic’s lawsuit out of court,” as CBS News colorfully described his ruling.
Judge Stelzer affirmed what Missouri’s lone abortion clinic should have done in the first place: take its complaint to the Administrative Hearing Commission.
Of course, the real issue is yet to be confronted: why the DHSS did not renew the abortion clinic’s license–serious deficiencies.
“The state has said concerns about the clinic arose from inspections in March,” CBS News reported. “Among the problems Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services investigators have cited were three ‘failed abortions’ requiring additional surgeries and another that led to life-threatening complications for the mother, The Associated Press reported, citing a now-sealed court filing.”