Missouri judge sets new deadline for abortion center
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 6/24/19, 05:05 pm
A judge in St. Louis on Monday extended an order protecting the state’s only abortion facility from closure through Friday. By then, Planned Parenthood must take its licensure case to a different venue, Missouri Circuit Judge Michael Stelzer ruled.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services allowed the license for the St. Louis abortion facility to expire June 1, saying Planned Parenthood did not address patient safety concerns. Planned Parenthood sued, and Stelzer ordered the state to let the facility stay open temporarily. On Friday, he ruled the state health department must make a decision to either renew the license or deny it, not just let it lapse. The department denied it, but the judge said Planned Parenthood could stay open until he ruled otherwise.
In his order Monday, Stelzer said the abortion provider needed to take its case before the Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC), which handles disputes between residents and state agencies. Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s spokesman Steele Shippy said the judge’s ruling granted what the state sought all along.
“We look forward to trying the merits of this case in front of the AHC in our ongoing effort to ensure Planned Parenthood is following our state’s health laws, which are necessary to protect women’s safety,” Shippy said in a statement.
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