The last abortion clinic in Missouri officially lost its license on Friday, after the state health department refused to renew it.
Planned Parenthood of St. Louis will remain open and performing abortions for now, thanks to a court order. But if it closes, Missouri will become the only state in the nation without an abortion clinic.
“While Gov. [Mike] Parson and his political cronies are on the wrong side of history, nothing changes right now for patients who need access to abortion at Planned Parenthood,” Colleen McNicholas, a clinic physician, said in a statement to the Kansas City Star. “We will continue providing abortion care for as long as the court protects our ability to do so.”
Planned Parenthood of St. Louis sued Missouri back in May, after the state notified the clinic that it faced closing on May 31 unless it started requiring patients to undergo two pelvic exams, adjusted how it performed its state-mandated counseling, and turned over physicians for interviews with health department officials.
The clinic initially agreed to the first two conditions, but said it couldn’t compel all of the requested physicians to sit for interviews because some were not Planned Parenthood employees.
A judge ordered Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services to decide by Friday whether the clinic’s license would be renewed. That judge will now decide whether to issue another court order to decide the clinic’s fate.
Then, on Thursday, Planned Parenthood announced that it would defy Missouri’s rules and perform only one pelvic exam on patients.
"Over the last few weeks, I have new evidence to say that 100% of the patients who I've taken care of who've undergone this inappropriate, medically unnecessary, unethical pelvic exam have been harmed by that," David Eisenberg, the clinic’s medical director, told CBS News. "Because to do so, in my opinion, is just assault."
Cover: The exterior of a Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Center is seen on May 28, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)