U.S. District court judge Nanette Laughrey issued Monday a preliminary injunction blocking the Missouri Department of Health from revoking the license of the Columbia facility.
Planned Parenthood President and CEO Laura McQuade said the court decision allows the organization to restore medically induced abortions as soon as a physician with hospital privileges is found.
“For the moment, it takes the politics out of the issue in terms of the license. The likelihood that we can reinstitute abortion services in mid-Missouri today, is much greater than had that license been revoked,” said McQuade. “The judge ultimately ruled on equal protection grounds. She found that equal protection was not applied to Planned Parenthood in this case. Planned Parenthood, as an ambulatory surgical center, was treated dramatically differently from other ambulatory surgical centers throughout the state of Missouri.”
In September, the University of Missouri ended the privileges Dr. Colleen McNicholas claimed allowed her to perform abortions, which would have cost the facility its license.
Senator Kurt Schaefer, chairman of the Senate’s ‘Sanctity of Life’ committee investigating Planned Parenthood, released a statement on the ruling.
“There is no apparent federal question presented in this case which would give a federal court jurisdiction to issue an injunction,” said Schaefer.
He also said a 2010 settlement agreement between Planned Parenthood and the State of Missouri specifically prohibits Planned Parenthood from bringing its claim in any court.
Whether the state will appeal the ruling is unknown. The Department of Health can’t revoke the Columbia facility’s license until the case is resolved, which Judge Laughrey wants to happen by May 1.