On Oct. 1, Missouri could go from two abortion facilities to one.
The Columbia Planned Parenthood will have to stop aborting unborn babies Oct. 1 as a result of a court order allowing the state to enforce abortion clinic regulations, the AP reports.
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. Earlier this month, Missouri won a victory when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit overturned a 2017 ruling that blocked the state from enforcing the laws.
The Columbia facility has not been able to comply with the requirements. Now, it is asking a federal judge to block enforcement of the laws again, according to the Columbia Missourian.
“The Columbia health center has abortion procedures scheduled on October 3, 2018, so needs relief by that date in order to avoid canceling patient appointments,” the organization argued to the court.
Planned Parenthood also argued that more than 22 percent of women seeking an abortion at the Columbia facility will “be prevented entirely from exercising their constitutional right to choose, due to their inability to travel the long distance to obtain an abortion in St. Louis.”
Here’s more from the report:
Mary Compton, spokeswoman for Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, said in a statement Thursday that the office “will continue to vigorously defend Missouri’s commonsense regulations that protect women’s health and safety.”
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Planned Parenthood affiliates with Missouri health centers filed the underlying lawsuit to block state requirements on admitting privileges and mandates that clinics meet hospital-like standards for outpatient surgery. The U.S. Supreme Court in 2016 struck down similar rules in Texas.
U.S District Judge Howard Sachs in May 2017 issued a temporary restraining order to block the admitting privileges rule. But his action was undone earlier this month by judges on the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, who argued Sachs didn’t do enough to weigh the cost benefits of Missouri’s rules and sent the case back to the lower court.
If the Columbia facility stops aborting unborn babies, the St. Louis Planned Parenthood will be the only abortion facility in the state. The facility has been labeled “the most dangerous abortion facility in the U.S.” At least 65 of its patients were hospitalized for abortion complications in the past few years, and it has been cited for dozens of health and safety violations.
A Planned Parenthood facility in Kansas City, Missouri also lost its abortion clinic license in August after struggling for months to find a new abortionist. Without one, the abortion facility was not able to complete its annual state inspection in June, a requirement for licensure.
Planned Parenthood also had plans to open abortion facilities in Joplin and Springfield, but it has not been able to meet licensing requirements at those locations either.