Missouri pro-life advocates won another victory on Friday when a federal judge again denied a nonprofit health care facility’s request to resume abortions services.
Federal Judge Brian Wimes refused to issue a preliminary injunction that would have allowed Planned Parenthood to resume offering abortions in Columbia. This is Planned Parenthood’s third attempt in Planned Parenthood v. Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to get a preliminary injunction.
The section of previously passed and signed SB 5 requiring a physician performing an abortion to have hospital privileges within a 30-mile radius of the facility was upheld by Wimes. He found that that provision did not present a “substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking an abortion.”
Without the preliminary injunction, Planned Parenthood’s Columbia location continues to be unable to perform abortions unless they are successful in their lawsuit.
“We appreciate the District Court’s ruling that permits the same standards of care for women that is associated with other invasive surgical procedures,” said Dr. Randall Williams, DHSS Director. As stated in his attestation to the Court, “This is not a burden, but a responsibility that physicians dedicated to caring for their patients exercise daily to ensure their patients’ safety by timely providing care at a time patients need it the most, during complications.”
The Columbia Planned Parenthood has failed to secure a physician with those privileges since 2015, when a University of Missouri healthcare executive committee unanimously agreed to terminate abortion privileges. Later in 2015, Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit against the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to preserve the Columbia clinic’s license to provide abortions.
The reasons for this denial of privilege was made clear by the same Federal Court in October 2018. The Columbia Planned Parenthood failed a state inspection due to the presence of black mold, as well as bodily fluids in equipment used to treat patients.
Missouri has an unusually high instance of complication from abortions. Since 2009, more than 60 ambulances have been called to the Planned Parenthood in Saint Louis. According to Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s office, Missouri has almost double the national average of complications at 2.1 percent. Specifically, the AGO argued that the Columbia Planned Parenthood had a long history of health and safety violations.
The judgment was praised by Missouri’s governor.
“This is a huge victory for protecting women’s health and the right to life,” said Governor Mike Parson. “It’s sad that Planned Parenthood continues to fight against ensuring that a woman’s abortion provider has privileges to a nearby hospital when complications arise. As a former member of the Missouri General Assembly, I was proud to cast votes in support of protecting life and women’s health that have now been upheld in the court of law.
“As other states in our nation, like New York and Virginia, venture further and further away from the American ideal to uphold the right to life, I’m honored to lead a state with so many people committed to standing up for those without a voice. Thanks to decades of conservative, pro-life leadership, Missouri recently hit an all-time low for the number of abortions.”
A Planned Parenthood representative was approached for comment for this story, which will be updated if comment is sent.