Missouri's only abortion clinic may soon be stopped from performing abortions — unless a state court intervenes.
"BREAKING: Missouri could soon become the first state in the country to have no health center that provides safe, legal abortion, leaving more than a million people in a situation we haven't seen since Roe v. Wade. This is unacceptable. Abortion care is health care. Period," Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen tweeted Tuesday morning in response to the news.
BREAKING: Missouri could soon become the first state in the country to have no health center that provides safe, le… https://t.co/SBo1og1AM7— Planned Parenthood (@Planned Parenthood)1559056360.0
Planned Parenthood officials said that the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is "refusing to renew" the St. Louis clinic's annual abortion license, which is set to expire Friday, CBS News reported. The organization said it plans to file a lawsuit Tuesday, asking the state court to allow the clinic "to keep serving Missouri women," according to the report.
"This is not a drill. This is not a warning. This is a real public health crisis. More than 1 million women of reproductive age in Missouri will no longer have access to a health center in their state that provides abortion care," Wen wrote in another tweet.
This is not a drill. This is not a warning. This is a real public health crisis. More than 1 million women of repro… https://t.co/1FVg9q1nWQ— Leana Wen, M.D. (@Leana Wen, M.D.)1559056597.0
The organization's leader has vowed to keep the clinic open.
"To the women of Missouri, know this: Planned Parenthood will not stand for it. We will never abandon you and we will help you to get the care that you need — no matter what. Our doors remain open," Wen wrote on Twitter.
To the women of Missouri, know this: Planned Parenthood will not stand for it. We will never abandon you and we wil… https://t.co/DWvDS06oUD— Leana Wen, M.D. (@Leana Wen, M.D.)1559056597.0
What are the details?
Last week, Health Department officials notified the clinic about three issues that could affect its license renewal, Planned Parenthood officials told CBS News.
The organization said it would address two of the state's requests, including providing an additional pelvic exam for abortion patients and making adjustments to the state-mandated counseling.
But Planned Parenthood claimed that the state's third request is out of its control.
State officials requested interviews with seven doctors who perform abortions at the clinic as apart of an investigation into "deficient practices."
Planned Parenthood said only two of the seven physicians are employed by the organization, therefore, it could only provide interviews with the two who are employed there.
The Health Department wrote in a letter that it would be unable to "complete our investigation until it interviews the physicians involved in the care provided in the potential deficient practices."
"[T]he investigation needs to be completed and any deficiencies resolved before the expiration of [the clinic's] license on May 31, 2019," the letter continued.
What did the clinic say?
Dr. Colleen McNicholas, a physician at the St. Louis clinic, told CBS that she is not aware of the details surrounding the investigation.
"We are 100 percent committed to the best care that we can provide for patients. So certainly if there is an issue with the care we're providing we want to know about it," McNicholas said, adding that she expects to be interviewed by the Health Department Tuesday.
"We want to be able to address that. But we can't do that when we're being attacked," she said.
Last week, Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed a pro-life bill that will ban abortion after eight weeks.
"By signing this bill today, we are sending a strong signal to the nation that, in Missouri, we stand for life, protect women's health, and advocate for the unborn," Parson said in a statement on Friday. "All life has value and is worth protecting."