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Judge Blocks Missouri Health Dept. from Shuttering State’s Only Remaining Planned Parenthood

A Missouri State flag waves outside of Planned Parenthood St. Louis Region, Missouri’s sole abortion clinic, in St. Louis, Mo., May 28, 2019. (Lawrence Bryant/Reuters)

A state judge on Friday declared that Missouri’s sole remaining Planned Parenthood clinic will be allowed to remain open, ruling that the health department was in error not to renew the license of the St. Louis clinic.

“Planned Parenthood has demonstrated that it provides safe and legal abortion care. In over 4,000 abortions provided since 2018, the Department has only identified two causes to deny its license,” Missouri Administrative Hearing Commissioner Sreenivasa Rao Dandamudi wrote in his ruling.

“Ultimately, we have no concerns with the substance of Planned Parenthood’s quality assurance review, and there are no other indications of deficient practices,” the commissioner continued. “Therefore, Planned Parenthood is entitled to renewal of its abortion facility license.”

The Missouri Department of Public Health last year attempted to close the St. Louis Planned Parenthood by refusing to renew its license over allegations that the facility performed “failed abortions” that led to more surgeries and put one of the mothers’ lives at risk.

If the clinic had been forced to close permanently, Missouri would have become the only state to have zero abortion clinics since 1974, the year after the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide.

“It is a sad day when the health and safety of women is sacrificed in the name of abortion access,” said Jeanne Mancini, President of March for Life, adding that the St. Louis Planned Parenthood has “demonstrated consistently that they value profits above the health and safety of women.”

“Their numerous deficiencies, which Planned Parenthood refused to correct when given the opportunity, merited closure. The women of Missouri deserve better,” Mancini said.

Missouri’s Republican governor, Mike Parson, signed a law last year prohibiting abortions after eight weeks, one of a number of extremely restrictive state abortion laws designed to spark court challenges that could potentially lead to the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court.

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