ST. LOUIS — A judge has stopped the state government’s attempt to shut down the last abortion clinic in the state of Missouri.
NPR reported that Missouri Circuit Court Judge Michael Stelzer granted a request to temporarily prevent state officials from revoking the license of a St. Louis clinic operated by Planned Parenthood.
The clinic is the last one in the state and the license threat came less than two weeks after the state passed one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.
Planned Parenthood, Stelzer wrote in his order, “demonstrated that immediate and irreparable injury will result” if Missouri refused to renew the clinic’s license. He added that the temporary restraining order “is necessary to preserve the status quo and prevent irreparable injury.”
Stelzer issued his ruling Friday, hours before a midnight deadline. The judge set a hearing on the matter for Tuesday.
“This is a victory for women across Missouri, but this fight is far from over. We have seen just how vulnerable access to abortion care is in Missouri — and in the rest of the country,” said Leana Wen, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood.
Anti-abortion-rights groups were dismayed by the decision, echoing the governor’s position that there are health and safety concerns at the clinic that need to be investigated.
“Planned Parenthood caused this artificial crisis when they ignored the law and refused to comply with the state of Missouri’s very reasonable requests,” said Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins, who called Stelzer’s ruling an example of “judicial activism in favor of abortion.”
In a lawsuit seeking to keep the clinic open, Planned Parenthood had warned that closing the facility could force some women to “turn to medically unsupervised and in some cases unsafe methods to terminate unwanted pregnancies.”