Missouri’s only abortion clinic faces closure at midnight

The Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Center in St Louis, Missouri — the state's last abortion clinic may be forced to stop providing the procedure. — AFP pic
The Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Center in St Louis, Missouri — the state's last abortion clinic may be forced to stop providing the procedure. — AFP pic

MAY 31 — Missouri could become the only US state without a legal abortion provider today as its only abortion clinic could lose its license to perform the procedure unless a St. Louis judge intervenes.

The legal battle in St. Louis comes a week after Missouri Governor Mike Parson, a Republican, signed a bill banning abortion beginning in the eighth week of pregnancy, making Missouri one of eight US states that have passed anti-abortion legislation this year.

Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit against Missouri this week after state health officials said the license for Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood in St. Louis was in jeopardy because they were unable to interview seven of its physicians over “potential deficient practices,” documents filed in a St. Louis court showed.

The circuit judge in the case, Michael Stelzer, was expected today to rule on Planned Parenthood’s request for a temporary restraining order and injunction against the state, according to local media. If Stelzer rules against Planned Parenthood, the clinic’s license to perform abortions would expire at midnight, making Missouri the only US state without an abortion clinic since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 that established a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy.

Abortion is one of the most socially divisive issues in US politics, with opponents often citing religious beliefs to call it immoral, while abortion-rights advocates say the bans amount to state control of women’s bodies.

Yesterday, pro-abortion demonstrators held a rally in downtown St. Louis, where police arrested Alderman Megan Ellyia Green and several Planned Parenthood board members during a sit-in at the Wainwright State Office Building, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported.

Anti-abortion activists say they aim to prompt the newly installed conservative majority on the US Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade by enacting laws that are virtually assured of facing court challenges. — Reuters

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