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Missouri Health Department Rejects Planned Parenthood License 

Pro-choice and pro-life protesters stand outside of Planned Parenthood as a deadline looms to renew the license of Missouri's sole remaining Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis, Missouri, May 31, 2019.

Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services rejected a license renewal Friday for a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis, but the clinic can temporarily continue to provide abortions. The rejection was the latest development in a long legal battle over the state’s last remaining abortion clinic.

The health department told Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region that its license would be rejected, minutes before a court hearing for the organization was to begin.

Circuit Judge Michael Stelzer, who had previously granted Planned Parenthood a temporary injunction allowing the clinic to continue providing abortions when the health department refused to renew its license, ruled Friday that his injunction was to remain in effect until he presented both parties with a list of next steps.

Planned Parenthood advocates in Missouri alleged Friday that the health department “weaponized a regulatory process” as part of a broader campaign to end abortion access in the state.

A spokesperson for the health department told reporters the Planned Parenthood location had resolved only four of the 30 deficiencies the department had identified, prompting officials to deny the license renewal. The health department also cited the unwillingness of physicians at the location to sit for interviews with the health department.

Planned Parenthood asserts it cannot compel the physicians to testify, as they were not full-time staff.

If the Planned Parenthood clinic were to lose its license, Missouri would be the first state since 1974 not to have an abortion provider. That’s a year after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. In recent months, states across the country have enacted laws to restrict abortion access, with some seeking to overturn the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision legalizing abortion nationwide.