A Missouri Planned Parenthood abortion facility will keep its abortion license as it searches for a new abortion doctor, a federal judge ruled Monday.
The Columbia, Missouri abortion facility was scheduled to lose its license to perform abortions after its abortion doctor, Colleen McNicholas, lost her refer and follow hospital privileges, which are required by state law.
U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey responded Monday to Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri’s lawsuit against the Missouri health department, granting the abortion chain more time to find a replacement abortion doctor, according to ABC 17 News. Laughrey’s ruling means that the state cannot take away the abortion facility’s license while it continues its search, the report states. The new ruling is an extension of an earlier ruling by Laughrey in November.
Temporarily, the abortion facility is not doing abortions while it searches for another abortion doctor with refer and follow hospital privileges. Missouri currently has one functioning abortion facility, a Planned Parenthood in St. Louis.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports more on the ruling:
To perform abortions, Planned Parenthood must be licensed as an ambulatory surgical center. Planned Parenthood argued that the department did not give them the same opportunity to correct the problem it has extended to other surgical centers. Under Missouri law, centers informed of a deficiency must develop and implement a plan of correction, approved by the [Missouri health] department.
Laughrey wrote in her ruling that it was likely the department “treated (Planned Parenthood) more harshly than other similarly situated institutions” and that the department had worked with another center for months to fix deficiencies before revoking its license.
The abortion and health care provider also argued revoking its license would cause irreparable harm. Laughrey noted in her ruling that “if a doctor were sick and unable to use a license in the foreseeable future, the revocation of his license would still cause certain harm even if there were no certainty about his recovery.”
The department is blocked from revoking the license until the case is resolved, which Laughrey wants to happen by May 1.
Missouri law prohibits a physician from performing or inducing abortions unless that doctor has “clinical privileges at a hospital which offers obstetrical or gynecological care located within 30 miles of the location at which the abortion is performed or induced.”
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 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.