Missouri’s lone abortion clinic can keep operating for at least a little while longer.
A state judge on Friday ruled the state health department was not justified in denying a St. Louis Planned Parenthood’s application to renew its license last year.
“Planned Parenthood has demonstrated that it provides safe and legal abortion care,” Administrative Hearing Commissioner Sreenivasa Rao Dandamudi wrote. “In over 4,000 abortions provided since 2018, the Department has only identified two causes to deny its license. Therefore, Planned Parenthood is entitled to renewal of its abortion facility license.”
The state has 30 days to file for reconsideration.
The Missouri Attorney General’s office, which represented the state in the case, declined to comment directly on the ruling Friday.
“We’re currently reviewing the ruling and deciding on next steps,” spokesman Chris Nuelle wrote in an email.
The ruling comes roughly a year after the state made the decision to deny the clinic's renewal application while citing concerns about four botched abortions. (The license has remained active throughout the appeals process.)
Attorneys for Planned Parenthood pushed back, saying the state was magnifying a small number of inevitable complications to tar a clinic performing thousands of successful procedures in service of top Republicans’ political agendas.
Just days before the state denied the clinic’s application for renewal, Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, signed a bill banning nearly all abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy.
That law was struck down in federal court a few months later and is currently awaiting further review on appeal.
It's not exactly clear what the ruling means for care at the St. Louis clinic.
Planned Parenthood data show the number of procedures there have plummeted in recent years. At the same time, clinics across the river in Illinois have seen increasing numbers of Missouri patients.