A federal judge stopped Missouri from revoking the license of one of the last two abortion facilities in the state on Monday.
The Columbia abortion clinic was set to lose its license to do abortions Monday after its abortion doctor, Colleen McNicholas, had her “refer and follow” hospital admitting privileges revoked by the University of Missouri Health Care, according to the Columbia Tribune. Missouri state law requires that abortion clinics employ doctors with hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles of the facility.
U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey issued a temporary injunction that will allow the abortion clinic to stay open in response to a lawsuit that Planned Parenthood filed earlier Monday against the state Department of Health and Human Services, according to the Associated Press.
Laughrey’s temporary injunction will expire Wednesday evening after another hearing on the case, the AP reports.
The Kansas City Star reports more on the case:
The lawsuit, filed by Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid Missouri, argues that there is no requirement under state law that the clinic’s license be immediately revoked due to loss of a physician with hospital privileges. In the past, the lawsuit says, the state has allowed the Columbia clinic to maintain its license to perform abortions while it searched for a new physician.
From June 2012 to Sept. 2013, the lawsuit states, the clinic was without a physician and unable to perform abortions but was able to keep its state license.
“It will take significant time for [Planned Parenthood] to find a new physician to provide abortions at the Columbia Center, and even longer if that physician needs to apply for and obtain local hospital privileges,” the lawsuit says. “(The Department of Health and Senior Services’) revocation of (Planned Parenthood’s) license does not give (Planned Parenthood) sufficient time to maintain its license and therefore violates (Planned Parenthood’s) right to procedural due process.”
Through its spokesman, the Department of Health and Senior services said it does not comment on pending litigation.
Without the Columbia location, Missouri would have one abortion clinic in the whole state, a Planned Parenthood facility in St. Louis, LifeNews reported last week.
The University of Michigan voted to stop offering admitting privileges to McNicholas in September, in response to a state investigation prompted by undercover videos by the Center for Medical Progress, which showed Planned Parenthood abortionists harvesting and selling aborted babies’ body parts. The investigation revealed a relationship between Planned Parenthood and the university.
However, LifeNews recently reported that the University of Missouri is working with McNicholas to re-apply for hospital admitting privileges so that she can do abortions again.
Teresa Snow, a spokeswoman for the university, predicted earlier this month that the abortion clinic would lose its license to perform medical abortions while McNicholas re-applies for hospital admitting privileges, a process that takes months. The university health care program is compiling documents for the abortion doctor’s application process, according to the Associated Press.
In a related incident, a pro-life Missouri state Senator received death threats related to his investigation of Planned Parenthood and its connection to the University of Missouri, LifeNews recently reported.