Missouri court temporarily blocks closure of state’s last abortion clinic
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Missouri court temporarily blocks closure of state’s last abortion clinic

Missouri Circuit Court Judge Michael Stelzer on Friday granted Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region a temporary restraining order, keeping its license active and allowing it to continue its services until a future preliminary injunction decision.

The ruling was issued hours before the last abortion clinic in Missouri was set to close.

Missouri’s health department has previously refused to proceed with an annual license renewal process, citing the stalled investigation of an unspecified patient complaint. Governor Mike Parson has refuted claims that the attempted shuttering of the clinic has been politically motivated, publicly stating there was “significant medical evidence showing three failed surgical abortions” at the facility.

Missouri has passed several restrictions to impede access to abortions. Recently, Parson signed the Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act, requiring parental consent for minors seeking an abortion, prohibiting abortions after eight weeks gestation, and allowing for no exceptions in cases of rape or incest.

Additionally, Missouri has continued to codify and enforce Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers (TRAP laws) in the name of health and safety. These TRAP laws include requirements such as close proximity of clinics to hospitals and expensive ambulatory surgical center licensing standards.

The closing of clinics forces individuals seeking an abortion to travel further, and that increase of distance is correlated with a decrease in abortion rates, especially affecting low-income women.

The preliminary injunction hearing is set for June 4.