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Federal judge issues temporary injunction against Missouri abortion law

[JURIST] A federal judge issued a temporary injunction Monday blocking a Missouri abortion law [HB 1055 text] that would subject more abortion clinics to tighter state control. The law, which had been scheduled to go into effect Tuesday, would classify abortion clinics that perform more than five first-trimester abortions a month or any second- or third-trimester abortions as "outpatient surgery centers," and require them to meet stringent state building, staffing and health codes. Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri [advocacy website] challenged [AP report] the law, arguing that it infringed on womens' rights and would force the organization to close several of its clinics. HB 1055 would also ban abortion providers from disseminating information at schools and establish a permanent Alternatives to Abortion Program [MO press release] in the state. US District Judge Ortrie Smith said he would decide whether to make the injunction permanent at a September 10 hearing. AP has more.

Abortion [JURIST news archive] is a hot-button issue in Missouri, where the legislature is dominated by an anti-abortion majority. In May, the Missouri Supreme Court unanimously upheld [opinion; JURIST report] a 2005 law that allows parents to sue people who help their minor daughters get an abortion without parental consent. Planned Parenthood had challenged the law on the basis that it infringed the group's First Amendment right to free speech by blocking it from disseminating information or counseling clients about abortion. In April, the US Supreme Court issued an order [PDF text; JURIST report] vacating a 2005 decision [PDF] by the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit striking down Missouri's 1999 "partial birth" abortion ban [JURIST report]. The Supreme Court's ruling followed its earlier decision in Gonzales v. Carhart [text; JURIST report] upholding the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 [PDF text].

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