Missouri won a victory Monday when a federal appeals court allowed the state to enforce abortion clinic regulations that would protect patients suffering from potentially life-threatening complications.
The state laws require that abortionists have hospital admitting privileges for patient emergencies and that abortion facilities meet the same basic health and safety standards as other ambulatory surgical centers.
On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit overturned a 2017 ruling that blocked the state from enforcing the laws, The Hill reports. Planned Parenthood sued Missouri in 2016.
The abortion chain’s vice president, Dawn Laguens, was not happy to hear the news Monday.
“Despite a Supreme Court ruling striking down virtually identical restrictions in Texas, judges in the Eighth Circuit continue to re-write the books on abortion access,” she said. “Today’s ruling threatens to eliminate abortion access at all but one health center in the state.”
She referred to Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down similar Texas abortion clinic regulations in 2016.
The pro-abortion news site ThinkProgress reports more:
In fairness, the [Texas and Missouri] laws are not entirely identical. Most notably, Missouri’s law permits individual abortion clinics to see waivers from the “physical plant regulations,” and at least one such waiver has been granted for a clinic that made a “minor request.”
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Judge Bobby Shepherd, a George W. Bush appointee, wrote for himself and his fellow Republican judges that the challenge to these “physical plant” requirements may need to be delayed until after a clinic first tries to obtain a waiver. There are strong legal arguments against Shepherd’s position here, but Shepherd and his two colleagues at least claim that this waiver system meaningfully distinguishes Hawley from Hellerstedt.
Shepherd also said a lower court judge was wrong to not consider the benefits of the laws, according to Reuters.
“Invoking the Constitution to enjoin the laws of a state requires more than ‘slight implication and vague conjecture,'” Shepherd wrote. “At a minimum, it requires adequate information and correct application of the relevant standard.”
The abortion chain Planned Parenthood could be forced to shut down one of its two abortion facilities in the state as a result of the ruling. The Planned Parenthood in St. Louis 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.
Laguens said the Monday decision is important reminder of what could happen if Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Pro-abortion groups have labeled Kavanaugh’s nomination a “serious threat” to “women’s right to safe, legal abortion,” while national pro-life leaders have expressed high hopes for Kavanaugh and the future of unborn babies’ rights, as well as abortion clinic regulations and other laws that hold the abortion industry accountable.