Federal judge rules Missouri clinic can’t perform abortions

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(Photo via NARAL)

COLUMBIA, Mo. — A Planned Parenthood clinic in this central Missouri city can’t perform abortions after a federal judge rule that state restrictions were not an “undue burden” on women.

The Associated Press reported that Missouri law requires clinics that provide abortions to have physicians with admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The clinic has been unable to find physicians willing since University of Missouri Health Care decided to stop offering the privileges in 2015. The system stopped offering after GOP investigated abortions in the state.

From the AP:

U.S. Western District Court Judge Brian Wimes ruled Friday that the admitting privileges did not affect enough women to constitute an undue burden, The Columbia Missourian reported .

Wimes also wrote that requiring women to drive farther to obtain an abortion was not enough of a burden to rule in Planned Parenthood’s favor. The judge said the organization didn’t provide evidence of trying to find doctors with the necessary hospital privileges in Columbia, or evidence of fewer doctors, longer wait times, and increased crowding at the St. Louis clinic.

“Finally,” he continued, “the record does not provide a basis in evidence to approximate the number of women who will forego or postpone surgical abortion incidental to the inoperability of the Columbia Facility.”

Dr. Brandon Hill, CEO and president of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, said in a statement Monday that the state requirement for a physician with admitting privileges is “virtually identical” to a law struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016. He said the Columbia clinic hadn’t found a qualified physician because of political pressure.

According the The Hill, a clinic in St. Louis is now the only one in the state that performs abortions.

The AP also reported that same clinic had been damaged by arson earlier this year. The FBI is investigating the fire as a possible hate crime . The clinic reopened to provide other reproductive health services on Feb. 19, according to the news service.

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