Missouri’s Only Abortion Clinic Will Stay Open

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Jun 01, 2020

Last June, a Missouri judge temporarily stopped the state from revoking the license of a St. Louis Planned Parenthood, the only abortion clinic in the state. And nearly one year later, on May 29, Missouri’s administrative hearing commissioner, Sreenivasa Rao Dandamudi, upheld that ruling, Planned Parenthood announced. As a result, Missouri avoided becoming the first state without a facility for the medical procedure, a move which would have affected 1.1 million people of childbearing age.

“In over 4,000 abortions provided since 2018, the Department has only identified two causes to deny its license,” Dandamudi wrote, according to the Associated Press. “Therefore, Planned Parenthood is entitled to renewal of its abortion facility license.” 

This win for Planned Parenthood came after they sued the state on May 28, 2019, following a statement from the Department of Health and Senior Services that said it found “potential deficient practices” during an inspection that warranted a license removal and rendered abortions at the clinic illegal. Instead, the AP reported that Dandamudi wrote Planned Parenthood has “substantially complied” with the state’s law. 

According to the AP, Dandamudi’s decision will keep the St. Louis clinic’s license renewed through May 2021.

The organization acknowledged that challenges remain. In a statement, Yamelsie Rodriguez, president and CEO of Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, wrote:

Today’s ruling is vindication for Planned Parenthood and our patients who rely on us. But the reality is, abortion has essentially become a right in name only in Missouri. Missouri’s medically unnecessary requirements, two in-person trips to the health center at least 72 hours apart, a ban on using telehealth for an abortion and a needless invasive pelvic exam for medication abortion still make it extraordinarily difficult for people to access care in Missouri.

While the St. Louis clinic will remain open, Planned Parenthood’s statement noted that “more than 450 abortion restrictions have been passed across the nation since 2011” and that just last year “12 states, as well as Missouri, enacted 25 abortion bans.”