ST. LOUIS, June 11, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A scandal-plagued abortion facility in St. Louis can keep its abortion license at least until June 21, thanks to another temporary injunction from Circuit Judge Michael Stelzer.
Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region has been fighting the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services over its annual license renewal, arguing the state is trying to “intimidate” abortionists by making renewal contingent on interviewing them about patient complaints.
The abortion giant filed a lawsuit at St. Louis Circuit Court seeking a restraining order to preserve its license, without which it would have had to stop committing abortions once its current license expired at midnight. Health officials want to interview five contract physicians regarding seven incidents flagged by inspectors, which Planned Parenthood opposes on the grounds that their answers could lead to criminal charges.
Last month, Stelzer granted the facility a temporary restraining order allowing it to keep committing abortions, and on Monday he ruled that the center can stay open at least until June 21, WDAF reports. The judge is giving state health officials until a court hearing on that date to make a final determination as to the facility’s license.
“Today’s ruling gives doctors like me the ability to wake up tomorrow and continue providing safe, legal abortion in the last health center in the state that provides abortion care,” abortionist Colleen McNicholas said, Politico reports. “For patients, that means for now, they can continue to make decisions about their bodies, lives and future in their home state.”
Republican Gov. Mike Parson had previously said it “would be reckless for any judge to grant a temporary restraining order ruling before the state has taken action on a license renewal.”
“It was a patient complaint that actually prompted the investigation into the clinic, and they found multiple violations,” Susan B. Anthony List vice president for communications Mallory Quigley told PBS in support of pulling the license. “A woman who went in for an abortion actually remained pregnant. There's talk of botched abortions, failure to do proper informed consent.”
“Actually, an ambulance has been called to this particular facility in Saint Louis more than 70 times since 2009,” she continued, adding that “we know what happens when public health officials don't inspect abortion facilities. It happened in Pennsylvania for 17 years,” invoking the case of the notorious Kermit Gosnell.
If the St. Louis facility is ultimately forced to stop committing abortions, the next closest abortion facilities will be in Granite City, Illinois (ten miles from St. Louis) or Kansas City, Kansas (260 miles from St. Louis).