Missouri appeals judge's blocking of abortion restrictions

Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (May 19, 2017) — Missouri is asking a federal appellate court to put on hold a judge's order blocking abortion-restricting rules in the state, arguing the judge "categorically refused even to consider the state's evidence justifying its regulations."

The state's challenge Thursday to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals came a day after U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs refused to delay enforcing the preliminary injunction he issued last month in favor of Planned Parenthood affiliates with Missouri health centers.

The law requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and that clinics meet hospital-like standards for outpatient surgery — restrictions Planned Parenthood protested as "medically unnecessary."

Only one licensed abortion clinic remains in the state — a Planned Parenthood center in St. Louis — partly as a result of Missouri's restrictions. The organization has said Planned Parenthood health centers in Kansas City, Columbia, Joplin and Springfield would provide abortions if the restrictions were scrapped.

Sachs has said he was bound by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a Texas case and that the state has been denying abortion rights "on a daily basis, in irreparable fashion." He added that relief sought by Planned Parenthood "should be prompt, given the needs of women seeking abortions and the need for available clinics to serve their needs."

In his three-page ruling Wednesday, Sachs said abortion-seeking women in central and southwestern Missouri are limited to driving to a distant clinic, trying to abort the fetus themselves or with the help of a non-professional, or have an unwanted birth.

Sachs dismissed the state's insistence that it is protecting abortion patients' health in the litigation, writing that "the converse is demonstrably true."

"It is hard to believe that the state defendants would urge desperate women who reject the birthing option to avoid a clinic and seek the 'safety' of self-abortion or back-alley abortions, but they offer no logic or argument to the contrary," Sachs wrote. "They are asking the courts to maintain these unsafe options pending litigation."

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley's office fired back Thursday, pressing to the 8th Circuit that Planned Parenthood, with the "sweeping" injunction, intends to offer abortions at sites "that do not satisfy the state's health-and-safety standards, posing an imminent threat to women's health and safety."

"The district court refused even to consider this evidence. This was plainly erroneous," Thursday's appeal read. By granting the injunction, "the district court ruled that it could not and would not consider the state's evidence."

Planned Parenthood has said that 1.2 million women of reproductive age live in Missouri. The agency's Kansas City center has offered medication-induced abortions and has said it would resume doing so if Missouri regulations in question were deemed unconstitutional.

Its Columbia center stopped offering the procedure — a nonsurgical type, induced with a pill — in 2015 after its only doctor performing medication-induced abortions lost needed privileges with University of Missouri Health Care.

Spokespeople for the regional Planned Parenthood affiliates told The Associated Press on Friday that the agencies have applied for licenses for their clinics in Kansas City and Columbia. They're hoping to offer abortion services there by this summer and are preparing to submit related applications to the state for the Joplin and Springfield sites.

We moderate all reader comments, usually within 24 hours of posting (longer on weekends). Please limit your comment to 300 words or less and ensure it addresses the article - NOT another reader's comments. Comments that contain a link (URL), an inordinate number of words in ALL CAPS, rude remarks directed at other readers, or profanity/vulgarity will not be approved. More details

SIGN UP FOR OUR DAILY NEWSBRIEF

SUBSCRIBE

VOTE IN OUR POLL

What's most frustrating to you about the previous moves to defund Planned Parenthood?

CAST YOUR VOTE

GET PUSH NOTIFICATIONS

SUBSCRIBE

LATEST AP HEADLINES

  Ultimate sacrifice: Teen dies shielding cousin from gunfire
  Bomb kills 13, hurts 24 in Baghdad; IS claims responsibility
  Thousands turn out to remember Kennedy on his 100th birthday
  Suspects in Kim Jong Nam murder appear in Malaysia court
  In shadow of Mosul fight, Iran establishes Nineveh foothold
McConnell juggling diverse demands on Republican health bill
Protest sparks Texas lawmaker threats of gun violence
Deputy slain in Mississippi rampage had worked in ministry

LATEST FROM THE WEB

Report: Trump to reverse Obama's Cuba policy
Pro-Sanders Dem on Russia probe: We're too preoccupied w/this, everyday Americans are getting left behind
Bodies found dumped in Philippines city besieged by ISIS-linked radical jihadists
7 actions needed to save Christians in Middle East
Kushner didn't suggest Russian communications channel in meeting, source says

CARTOON OF THE DAY

Cartoon of the Day

REASON & COMPANY

NEXT STORY
Thousands turn out to remember Kennedy on his 100th birthday

BOSTON (May 29, 2017) — Americans turned out by the thousands Monday to celebrate the life and legacy of President John F. Kennedy on the day he would have turned 100.