Missouri could become the first state in the nation since at least 1974 without a health center providing abortions. Planned Parenthood President, Dr. Leana Wen, says the organization has filed a lawsuit today against Missouri because she says the state “refuses to renew its license” that expires Friday at its St. Louis clinic. The center is the only one in Missouri offering abortions.
“If the court does not grant us a restraining order, Missouri will go dark and become the first state in the country with no health center that provides abortion care,” Wen says. “The state has illegally weaponized the licensing process. This is not a drill. This is not a warning. This is real and it is a public health crisis.”
In a media release announcing a press call earlier today, Planned Parenthood cites “recent intimidation” by the Department of Health and Senior Services and last week’s signing of wide-ranging anti-abortion legislation.
Dr. Colleen McNicholas with Planned Parenthood says the state is trying to intimidate the organization.
“In the past days, officials from the Department of Health and Senior Services have demanded me, my colleagues and, most egregiously, medical trainers to submit to interrogation with no explanation and making clear that we could be opened up to criminal proceedings or board review. Let me be clear, this is harassment – an attempted intimidation of doctors at the highest level of government in order to stop us from providing the legal, necessary and exceptional care that we have always provided our patients,” says McNicholas.
She goes on to say the licensing status is not surprising.
“This is the natural consequence of several decades worth of restriction after restriction that has eroded access to reproductive healthcare in our state,” she says. “Make no mistake – it is the poorest, the sickest and the most disadvantaged who will suffer the most. Missouri women are dying on Governor Parson’s watch.”
Missourinet has requested a response from the Department of Health and Senior Services and Governor’s Office.
A court hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon in St. Louis.
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