Judge Blocks Rules That Forced Closure of Abortion Clinics in Missouri

Planned Parenthood public policy manager Porsha White. CREDIT Kira Lerner

Planned Parenthood public policy manager Porsha White. CREDIT Kira Lerner

A federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction to block abortion-restricting rules in Missouri, saying he's bound by the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling previous year striking down similar Texas guidelines.

Citing a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, which struck down similar restrictions in Texas, Sachs said abortion rights of Missouri women were guaranteed by the decision. Webb City State Representative Charlie Davis tells NewsTalk KZRG the judge is over-reaching his authority.

The two Planned Parenthood affiliates that challenged the restrictions said that, in the wake of the decision, they would soon be offering four more locations in Missouri where women would be able to obtain abortions. Davis says those groups should not be optimistic at this point.

Planned Parenthood's Kansas City center has offered medication-induced abortions and has said it would resume doing so if Sachs deemed the Missouri regulations in question unconstitutional. "I have a strong feeling that our attorney general will most likely appeal that ruling".

Republican State Attorney General Josh Hawley, who'd praised the restrictions, vowed to appeal the ruling.

Planned Parenthood affiliates with health centers in Missouri sought the preliminary injunction.

U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs said earlier this month that he planned to grant a preliminary injunction invalidating requirements for the state's abortion clinics to meet standards for surgical centers and for their doctors to have hospital privileges. A Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis is the only site in Missouri that offers abortions. On Wednesday, House lawmakers advanced legislation that would mandate state inspections of abortion clinics, lay out rules for fetal tissue disposal and require two parents be notified when a minor seeks an abortion.

Only one licensed abortion clinic remains in the state — a Planned Parenthood center in St. Louis — partly as a result of Missouri's restrictions. It is also the resounding affirmation we've long awaited - that medically unnecessary restrictions like admitting privileges and ambulatory surgical center requirements are state mandated laws thought up by extremists in Jefferson City.

"Today's victory means countless Missourians will have expanded access to safe, legal abortion".

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