Law & the Courts

Court Ruling May Shutter Columbia, Mo. Planned Parenthood Location

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

Missouri will immediately begin enforcing new abortion regulations that were temporarily blocked by a lower court, forcing Planned Parenthood to stop administering abortions at their Columbus location because it does not comply with the new regulations.

The relevant legislation requires that abortion providers serve as ambulatory surgical centers and contract with doctors who have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Failing to comply with those standards, Planned Parenthood’s Columbia, Mo. location will be forced to stop performing abortions following a unanimous Monday ruling by a three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, which vacated the lower court’s order blocking enforcement of the regulation.

The U.S. Western District Court of Missouri granted Planned Parenthood’s request for an injunction in April 2017, allowing their Columbus location to continue operating until the legal dispute was resolved. However, now that the injunction has been vacated, Planned Parenthood will be forced to shutter its Columbus location and direct all women seeking abortions to its St. Louis location, according to a press release distributed Monday.

“These requirements do nothing to help Missouri women — and, in fact, actually hurt them,” Dr. Brandon Hill, president and CEO of Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, said in the press release. “If these laws are allowed to take effect, women will now have to travel farther, wait longer, and use more of their own resources to access the health care they need most — if they can get care at all.”

Planned Parenthood officials went on to cite the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which held that it was unconstitutional for Texas to regulate abortion in a manner that placed an undue burden on women seeking the procedure.

“The Eighth Circuit’s ruling undermines decades of case law, including crystal clear Supreme Court precedent,” said Mary Kogut, president and CEO of Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, in the press release. “We will continue to challenge these restrictions and fight for our patients’ right to access the full range of sexual and reproductive health care, including safe, legal abortion.”

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