Federal appeals court upholds Missouri abortion law restrictions

Federal appeals court upholds Missouri abortion law restrictions

The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit on Monday reversed [opinion, PDF] a lower court’s decision that had blocked Missouri laws imposing certain requirements on abortion providers.

Missouri law required that clinics set up to provide abortions be designated as ambulatory surgery centers and that doctors who provide abortions must have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

Attorneys for Planned Parenthood had argued that Missouri’s laws were “virtually identical” [Kansas City Star report] to the Texas law declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2016 in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt [JURIST report].

Judge Bobby Shepherd wrote in the appeals court opinion, “invoking the Constitution to enjoin the laws of a state requires more than ‘slight implication and vague conjecture.’ … [I]t requires adequate information and correct application of the relevant standard. [Therefore], we vacate the preliminary judgement and remand.”

Monday’s ruling could force clinic closures and reduce the number of available providers in the state to one. Planned Parenthood may seek a review by the entire Eighth Circuit sitting en banc.