June 29, 2020

Missouri's Only Abortion Clinic Receives One-Year License After Year-Long Legal Battle

Photo Credit: Paul Sableman / Flickr
The Missouri health department issued a one-year license to Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services of the St. Louis Region last week, following a decision by a state administrative hearing judge. The St. Louis abortion clinic is the only remaining clinic in the state of Missouri. The state nearly became abortion-free after the Missouri health department investigated health violations at the clinic and elected not to renew its license, but this will not be the case for now.

Missouri's health department cited multiple issues with the clinic leading to its initial decision to deny a renewed license: An “unprecedented lack of cooperation” with health department officials, a “failure to meet basic standards of patient care,” and a refusal to perform pelvic examinations before abortion procedures despite its agreement to do so.

The clinic had been operating without a license since June 2019, due to judges granting a temporary stay on the health department's decision not to renew its license, but the Administrative Hearing Commission finally made its official decision last month. After another inspection by the Missouri health department, the Planned Parenthood clinic is licensed once again.

The decision may come as a surprise even to Planned Parenthood, which responded to the situation by secretly constructing and opening a new Planned Parenthood facility in Fairview Heights, Illinois just across the state line. If the St. Louis clinic was forced closed, Planned Parenthood could avoid Missouri's safety requirements for abortion clinics by drawing women into Illinois where virtually no abortion regulations exist at all.

If the Missouri health department wants to appeal the Administrative Hearing Commission's ruling, it must do so by June 29.