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Missouri Department Of Health To Pay Planned Parenthood’s Legal Expenses

REUTERS/Ilana Panich-Linsman

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Grace Carr Reporter

Missouri taxpayers will have to pay for more than $156,000 of Planned Parenthood’s legal charges, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

A U.S. district judge previously ruled in August 2016 that the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DOH) would have to pay both attorney fees and “Planned Parenthood Great Plains” legal expenses, and the circuit court upheld this decision Thursday. The whopping sum comes from a lawsuit over a Planned Parenthood clinic’s abortion license, according to the Missourian.

The unusual court battle began in response to the “refer and follow” privilege requirement which demands that physicians have referral privileges at a local hospital if they are going to perform abortions. Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit after Missouri’s DOH tried to take away a clinic’s license because it didn’t have a physician that could perform abortions.

“Political pressure led to unequal treatment that violated rights of Planned Parenthood when the state attempted to revoke the abortion license at the Columbia clinic,” District Judge Nanette Laughrey ruled in August, but Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster appealed the ruling, sending it back to the federal appeals court.

Because the case was appealed so many time, the $156,000 sum to be paid to Planned Parenthood is “just a base number,” said Bonyen Lee-Gilmore, Planned Parenthood’s director of communications and marketing. The final sum has yet to be determined.

St. Louis’ Planned Parenthood is currently Missouri’s only licensed abortion provider, according to US News.

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