By Grace Carr
Planned Parenthood clinics in Missouri will continue operating as usual after a judge put a case on hold regarding medical abortion requirements.
U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips put a stay on the case because Planned Parenthood’s 2016 and 2017 lawsuits “form part of the facts that bear on the Court’s analysis in this case,” according to KCUR Thursday. Phillips decided she cannot rule yet on a case that is affected by the abortion organization’s multiple lawsuits in the state.
“As a result, the stay has no immediate impact on services,” Planned Parenthood Great Plains president Brandon Hill said, according to KCUR. “This decision will allow us to get all the information we can from the other cases and be thoughtful about our next steps to fight for our patients’ right to access care,” Hill said, noting that he is pleased with the decision that will allow Planned Parenthood to continue offering services as usual.
The ruling comes after Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in October 2017 alleging that Missouri’s law requiring medical abortion providers to have hospital-admitting privileges presents an undue burden on women seeking abortions. The regulation “is the latest in a series of medically unnecessary requirements imposed by the State, which will, without basis, limit women’s access to an extremely safe procedure using medications alone,” KCUR reported.
Planned Parenthood also alleged in its October lawsuit that the requirement hindered its ability to serve women at its Columbia clinic, and that it had been forced to cancel a number of procedures. The abortion organization previously filed a November 2016 lawsuit in federal court challenging the law under Missouri’s Constitution.
Planned Parenthood is facing a number of pro-life initiatives in the state. Missouri is considering House Bill 1510 which would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, unless the unborn baby is not expected to survive outside the womb or if the woman’s life would be jeopardized by continuing the pregnancy. Mississippi already outlaws most abortions after 20 weeks gestation.
A Missouri judge also ruled in October that the state’s 72-hour waiting period is constitutional, rejecting Planned Parenthood’s emergency motion for a temporary restraining order on Missouri’s abortion laws. Missouri is also considering a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks gestation.
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