Missouri taxpayers are being forced to foot a huge legal bill for the abortion chain Planned Parenthood after the state tried to hold one of its abortion facilities accountable for not complying with the law.
A federal appeals court upheld a decision Thursday that forces the state’s taxpayers to pay the $156,000 legal bill, the Associated Press reports.
In late 2015, the state planned to take away the license of the Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Columbia, Missouri after it was unable to comply with a state admitting privileges law. However, Planned Parenthood sued the state, and a federal judge sided with the abortion giant in 2016.
Then, last August, U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey ruled that because the state lost the case, it must pay Planned Parenthood’s attorneys’ fees for the matter, the Salina Post reports. Planned Parenthood wanted $156,788 from the state, and Laughrey awarded the abortion group the total minus $157.50, according to the report.
The state appealed the decision and lost again this week at the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. It is unknown if the state will appeal again.
Here is more from the Post:
[Missouri state attorneys] argued that the amount should be reduced because Planned Parenthood didn’t actually benefit from her order. It said the clinic didn’t have a physician with admitting privileges to provide abortions, as required by Missouri law, so her ruling made no difference.
Laughrey rejected that argument, saying that by prevailing in the case, Planned Parenthood was able to retain its legal status as an ambulatory surgical center.
She also rejected the department’s claims that the legal fees were excessive – although she did reduce them by $157.50, representing a half-hour’s work by one of Planned Parenthood’s attorneys.
The Columbia abortion clinic was set to lose its license to do abortions in late 2015 after its abortion doctor, Colleen McNicholas, had her hospital admitting privileges revoked by the University of Missouri Health Care, LifeNews previously reported. A Missouri state law required abortion clinics to employ doctors with certain hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles of the facility.
In May 2016, Laughrey ruled that the state could not take away the Columbia abortion clinic’s license and called the state’s attempt to do so politically motivated, according to the Associated Press. Laughrey said in her ruling that the state Department of Health and Senior Services treated the abortion clinic “more harshly” than other ambulatory surgical centers.
For now, there is one operational abortion facility in the state, the Planned Parenthood in St. Louis. The facility has developed a terrible reputation, sending at least 65 patients to the hospital in the past eight years.
This summer, Missouri state lawmakers also are working on new abortion facility regulations after a court struck down their old laws earlier this year.
In April, a federal judge granted Planned Parenthood’s request to block state abortion clinic regulations, arguing that they hurt women’s access to abortion. The laws require abortionists to have hospital admitting privileges for patient emergency situations, and abortion facilities to meet standards similar to other ambulatory surgical facilities.
Gov. Eric Greitens said they plan to appeal the decision.
The state regulations have helped to saved thousands of unborn babies’ lives since they passed in 2005. Many abortion facilities closed, dropping from seven in 2005 to two in 2014, because they could not or would not comply with the safety regulations. Abortion numbers also dropped steadily after the law went into effect.