Planned Parenthood Can Open New Abortion Clinics After Court Scraps Health Law Protecting Women

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Oct 4, 2017   |   3:10PM   |   Jefferson City, MO

A federal court reversed a temporary victory for Missouri on Monday by blocking a state abortion clinic regulation law.

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a one-sentence ruling that will allow three Planned Parenthood abortion facilities to re-open in the near future, according to the Riverfront Times.

“The court today denied a stay that would have blocked access to safe, legal abortion, as required by the Supreme Court precedent,” Planned Parenthood St. Louis CEO and President Mary Kogut said in a statement. “We will continue working with the state to obtain licenses in Springfield and Joplin so we can provide [abortions] to patients in southwest Missouri as soon as possible.”

Just a few weeks ago, the federal court stayed a preliminary injunction issued by a lower court that had blocked enforcement of the Missouri law. The decision temporarily prevented the abortion chain from opening new abortion facilities in the state.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley told the AP that he was “extremely disappointed” by the latest decision to block the law.

“My office will continue to fight for common sense regulations that protect the health and well-being of Missouri women,” Hawley said in a statement.

After Planned Parenthood won an initial victory against a Missouri law in April, the abortion chain announced plans to open four abortion clinics in the state. The abortion chain’s Kansas City facility already obtained a license to do abortions, and its Columbia location is expected to re-open any day now.

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A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Great Plains told reporters that they plan to begin doing abortions at their Springfield and Joplin locations in the near future as well.

A number abortion facilities stopped doing abortions in Missouri in the past 10 years, because they could not or would not meet state health and safety regulations. The Planned Parenthood abortion chain filed a lawsuit challenging the regulations in November 2016.

In the spring, U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs granted Planned Parenthood’s request to block the 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.

However, the state is appealing the decision.

Steve Rupp of Missouri Right to Life told LifeNews earlier this month:

“Today we are reaping the consequences to past elections of pro-abortion leaders and appointments of pro-abortion judges. Judge Sachs ruled that our Director of the Department of Health and Senior Services issue new abortion clinic licenses or be held in contempt of court. …

“We are profoundly disappointed in the numbers of lives that will be lost in these additional abortion clinics and we vow to fight Judicial activism and protect innocent human lives by electing more and more pro-life leaders!”

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 laws went into effect.

For two years,the Planned Parenthood in St. Louis was the only abortion facility in the state. It has developed a terrible reputation, sending at least 69 women to the hospital in ambulances since 2009, according to Operation Rescue. State inspection reports between 2009 and 2016 also showed more than 200 health and safety violations that endangered women’s health.

In July, state lawmakers approved new abortion clinic regulations in reaction to Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit. However, they have not taken effect yet.