Missouri’s last remaining abortion clinic is set to close in just 72 hours, just days after the governor signed a strict anti-abortion measure into law.
Planned Parenthood said Missouri’s health department is refusing to renew the St. Louis clinic’s license to operate in the state, which would force it to close at the end of the week.
If it shuts down, Missouri would be the first state without a functioning abortion clinic since the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, according to the group. It is one of six states with just one remaining clinic.
“This is not a drill. This is not a warning. This is a real public health crisis,” Leana Wen, Planned Parenthood president and CEO, said in a statement to HuffPost. “This week, Missouri would be the first state in the country to go dark ― without a health center that provides safe, legal abortion care. More than a million women of reproductive age in Missouri will no longer have access to a health center in the state they live in that provides abortion care.”
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services notified Planned Parenthood on May 20 of three issues that it needed to address to renew its license, according to CBS, which first broke news of the impending closure.
The group agreed to two but said one demand was unacceptable: allowing the health department to interview seven doctors who work at the clinic. Planned Parenthood said it could provide interviews with two, but the others weren’t employed by the organization and hadn’t consented to be interviewed.
The state health department said in its letter that it couldn’t complete its investigation into “potential deficient practices” without the interviews, and that “the investigation needs to be completed and any deficiencies resolved before the expiration of [the clinic’s] license on May 31, 2019.”
The state health department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On Friday, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed a law banning abortion at eight weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions only for medical emergencies.
Planned Parenthood plans to file a lawsuit Tuesday to keep operating in the state.
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