Missouri’s Only Abortion Clinic Stays Open As Health Department Doesn’t Renew License

REUTERS/Lawrence Bryant

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Kyle Hooten Contributor
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Missouri’s only abortion clinic can continue operating until at least Aug. 1, a state commissioner decided Friday.

Administrative Hearing Commissioner Sreenivasa Rao Dandamudi said the Planned Parenthood in St. Louis can continue providing abortions until the clinic’s next hearing over its license renewal, according to The Associated Press. Dandamudi’s order comes as the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is denying the clinic an abortion license renewal, citing alleged failed abortions and other health concerns.

“Because DHSS relies substantially on the lack of these interviews as grounds for denial, we find there is a likelihood that Petitioner will succeed in its claim,” Dandamudi said.

Judge Michael Stelzer of the state circuit court had ruled June 21 to keep the clinic open temporarily despite DHSS rejecting the renewal of its license hours before. (RELATED: Judge Rules To Keep Last Abortion Clinic In Missouri Temporarily Open)

DHSS is seeking interviews with current and former employees of the clinic to review the allegations of health violations.

“Refusal of health care providers to cooperate in the Department’s investigations thwarts the Department’s ability to conduct meaningful review of troubling instances of patient care, and obstructs the Department’s ability to ensure that problems will not be repeated,” agency official William Koebel wrote, reported the AP on June 18.

“DHSS relies substantially on the lack of these interviews as grounds for [license] denial,” Dandamudi wrote.

“Good news! Today’s last minute ruling means patients can continue accessing safe, legal abortion in Missouri. This fight is far from over, and we’ll keep up the fight against each and every attack on our reproductive rights and health care,” Planned Parenthood wrote on Twitter.

“It’s outrageous but not unexpected that Planned Parenthood will be able to continue performing abortions in St. Louis despite its record of shoddy patient care and the state’s decision not to renew its license,” Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, wrote in a statement.

If DHSS succeeds in closing the Planned Parenthood, Missouri will become the only state in the country without a legally operating abortion clinic, according to Reuters.

Planned Parenthood gave its highest media excellence award to Missouri abortionists and journalists who have covered the state’s abortion issues. The company’s media excellence awards are intended for “journalists and media outlets for their exceptional coverage of reproductive rights, social justice, and health care issues,” according to the organization.

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