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Missouri Planned Parenthood loses in court–again

A federal district court has ruled against abortion provider Planned Parenthood’s attempt to block a state law requiring that abortion doctors have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

The law is meant to protect women and ensure that, if an abortion is performed, the patient has medical care at a local hospital.

Planned Parenthood’s Columbia clinic hasn’t had such a doctor since medical staff at the University of Missouri voted to stop offering those privileges in 2015 during a probe of unsafe abortion practices. Last month, a federal appeals court overturned a 2017 decision that blocked enforcement of Missouri laws that require admitting privileges and that abortion clinics to be licensed as outpatient surgical centers.

That decision didn’t take effect while Planned Parenthood considered whether to seek review of the case by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.  But Wednesday’s ruling will prevent the Columbia facility from offering abortions.

Elective abortion is now only available in Missouri at Planned Parenthood’s St. Louis facility.

In addition, the license of the Columbia health center expired Tuesday.  Planned Parenthood says it’ll once again ask the court that declined its request Wednesday to block the admitting privileges requirement once the Columbia facility’s license is renewed.

The Kansas City operation lost its abortion facility license in August. The clinic said it sought timely renewal of its license, but the state Department of Health and Senior Services delayed the license after saying the agency was unable to conduct a complete inspection of the facility in June.

The clinic did not have an abortion doctor at the time and had stopped offering the procedure in late March when the provider left. The Kansas City center has since arranged for a new provider and continues to push for its license.

A planned expansion of services to Springfield and Joplin had initially been delayed by Missouri passing further restrictions in 2017.  Planned Parenthood said the Wednesday decision requiring admitting privileges could further complicate plans for its facilities in Kansas City, Springfield, and Columbia.