A St. Louis judge has ruled that the St. Louis Planned Parenthood can continue offering abortions for now but has ordered the state to decide about its license by June 21. On Monday, Circuit Judge Michael Stelzer granted Planned Parenthood a preliminary injunction and the order remains in effect until the court issues another ruling.
Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit last month arguing the state is “weaponizing” the licensing process at its St. Louis site – the only abortion clinic in Missouri. President Leana Wen says the state “refuses to renew its license” at the St. Louis clinic by “insisting seven of its doctors be interrogated – putting their licenses on the line and potential criminal prosecution.” In an earlier decision, Stelzer blocked the state’s attempt to subpoena Planned Parenthood’s doctors to testify.
The state says it is investigating the clinic for allegedly completing failed abortions. Planned Parenthood has not responded to Missourinet’s inquiry about the state’s claim.
During a press conference today in St. Louis, Planned Parenthood Dr. David Eisenberg says the organization wants to be treated equally – not differently.
“We will not stop speaking out about the injustice that Governor Parson and Director Randall Williams from the Department of Health have intentionally created for the people of Missouri in a sick obsession to ban abortion and to not let women be equal citizens in this country,” he says.
Planned Parenthood Dr. Colleen McNicholas says the state continues to reinterpret its own rules, including about pelvic exams. She says the technique does not provide any medically-relevant information.
“That rule was put into place prior to sort of our modern way of diagnosing pregnancies,” McNicholas says. “Now we have things like ultrasounds to tell us how far along a pregnancy is. For a long time, the department agreed that the pelvic exam was not necessary.”
In a press release issued Monday from the State Department of Health and Senior Services, it says a pelvic exam has been required in Missouri since at least 1988 to detect factors that could influence the choice of the procedure, among other things. The rule was changed in 2018 but the state says it remains substantively the same.
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