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Abortion rights activists on Thursday gathered near the Gateway Arch to protest the potential closure of Missouri's only abortion provider. They marched to the Wainwright State Office Building, where some activists went inside. May 30, 2019
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The battle over abortion rights in Missouri spilled from the courtroom into city streets on Thursday as hundreds of people gathered near the St. Louis Arch to demand state officials stop trying to limit access to abortion.

Carrying signs that read “I Stand With Planned Parenthood” and “Protect Safe, Legal Abortion,” they were there to protest the state’s efforts to limit access to abortion and the potential closing of the state’s only abortion provider.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and Planned Parenthood have been in a standoff over the clinic’s license, and today its future is in the hands of St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Michael Stelzer.

Juliana Hertel and Grace Hardison demonstrate against abortion restrictions during a Planned Parenthood rally in downtown St. Louis. May 30, 2019
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri has long had some of the strictest abortion restrictions in the U.S. Now questions about Planned Parenthood’s license in St. Louis could mean Missouri losing its only abortion clinic. Below, find FAQs and answers based on our reporting. 

Update, June 21: Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services has decided to deny the license for Planned Parenthood’s St. Louis abortion clinic, the only provider in the state.

A preliminary injunction is keeping the St. Louis clinic’s license in place until the judge makes a more permanent decision. As part of that injunction ruling, the judge said the state needed to make a decision to renew or reject the license before Friday. A status hearing was ongoing Friday morning.

Read more: Missouri Denies St. Louis Planned Parenthood Clinic License To Perform Abortions

Update, May 31: A St. Louis Circuit Court Judge has ruled to keep Missouri’s last remaining abortion clinic open hours before its license expired. Judge Michael Stelzer granted Planned Parenthood a temporary restraining order to prevent the Department of Health and Senior Services from denying its license renewal application.

Read moreJudge's Order Keeps Missouri’s Sole Abortion Clinic Open — For Now

Our original story continues below.

A St. Louis Circuit Court judge is expected to decide whether to stop Missouri from closing the only remaining abortion clinic in the state before its license expires Friday at midnight.

Planned Parenthood is asking the judge to prevent the Department of Health and Senior Services from denying a renewed license to Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region.

M'Evie Mead, director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Missouri, addresses reporters outside the St. Louis Circuit Courthouse on May 30, 2019.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 6 p.m., May 30

Lawyers for Planned Parenthood on Thursday told a St. Louis Circuit Court judge that Missouri health officials have delayed renewing a license to the state’s sole abortion provider by continually asking for additional information.

In a hearing, Planned Parenthood’s lawyers asked Judge Michael Stelzer to issue a temporary restraining order barring the state Department of Health and Senior Services from denying to renew the license for its St. Louis clinic. That license expires at midnight Friday.

Judge Michael Stelzer did not make a decision on Thursday, but could do so by late Friday. If the judge does not rule, Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region — Missouri’s only licensed abortion provider — would close.

Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region is the last provider of abortion services in Missouri. It could lose its license this week.
File photo | David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Lawyers for Planned Parenthood will ask a St. Louis Circuit Court judge to block Missouri health officials from using an investigation into a patient’s complaint to close the state’s only licensed abortion provider.

Planned Parenthood went to court Wednesday to prevent the state Department of Health and Senior Services from denying a renewed license to Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region. But Judge Michael Stelzer rescheduled the hearing for Thursday, a day before the clinic’s license expires.

In their request for a restraining order, the organization’s lawyers also asked Stelzer to bar state health officials from interviewing seven doctors at the St. Louis clinic.

What Closing Missouri's Last Abortion Clinic Will Mean For Neighboring States

May 28, 2019
Planned Parenthood supporters marched silently past the organization's Central West End clinic as anti-abortion activists prayed during a 2017 demonstration.
File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

As the last abortion clinic in Missouri warned that it will have to stop providing the procedure as soon as Friday, abortion providers in surrounding states said they are anticipating an uptick of even more Missouri patients.

At Hope Clinic in Granite City, Illinois, just 10 minutes from downtown St. Louis, Deputy Director Alison Dreith said Tuesday her clinic was preparing for more patients as news about Missouri spread.

“We’re really scrambling today about the need for increased staff and how fast can we hire and train,” Dreith said.

Missouri is within days of losing its last remaining health center that provides abortions. Unless a court intervenes, it will become the first state in the nation without such a clinic.

Planned Parenthood officials say they are filing a lawsuit in state court Tuesday, asking for a restraining order to prevent its St. Louis clinic from being forced to stop offering the procedure after a state license expires Friday.

Federal prosecutors on Monday charged a Columbia, Missouri, resident with setting a fire at the Planned Parenthood clinic in that city that led to its closure for a week.

Wesley Brian Kaster, 42, was accused of one count of maliciously damaging, by means of fire or an explosive, a building owned by an organization that receives federal funding.

Missouri has one remaining abortion provider after a federal judge on Friday refused to block the state's law requiring that abortion providers have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Brian Wimes was the latest development in a case that has bounced around the federal courts for more than two years, after Planned Parenthood challenged the requirement as medically unnecessary.

This story was updated at 5:39 p.m. to add comments from Planned Parenthood Great Plains. 

The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever set a fire at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Columbia, Missouri, that has forced it to close.

The blaze was reported shortly after 4 a.m. Sunday. No one was in the building at the time, and it was extinguished by the clinic’s sprinkler system.

This story was updated at 9 a.m. Oct. 4 to add the comments of Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and Department of Health and Senior Services Director Dr. Randall Williams. 

A federal judge has declined – at least for now — to block a Missouri abortion law, leaving the state with just one abortion provider.

The law requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital or else face criminal prosecution. 

A federal judge has declined to block a Missouri regulation governing medication abortions, although she found that the restriction “has virtually no benefit.”

Ruling in a case brought by the Planned Parenthood affiliates in Kansas City and St. Louis, U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips said the plaintiffs had not shown that the regulation “is a substantial burden to a large fraction of women seeking a medication abortion.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 3, 2012 - Thirty-four members of the Missouri General Assembly's bipartisan Progressive Caucus have asked the national Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation "to reconsider their decision to cut cancer-screening funding to Planned Parenthood."

The group has signed letters sent to the foundation and to its chief executive, Nancy Brinker.

A volunteer with Coalition for Life St. Louis, an anti-abortion group, waves as a car exits the Planned Parenthood parking lot on Forest Park Avenue. Volunteers hand out anti-abortion pamphlets to passers-by.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It soon could be harder for opponents of Planned Parenthood to get their message to people going to the St. Louis Central West End clinic.

On a 15-13 vote, St. Louis Aldermen gave the measure, sponsored by Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia, D-6th Ward, first-round approval on Friday. It sets up an 8-foot buffer zone around health care facilities.

A Jackson County judge on Monday declined to block a Missouri law requiring abortion physicians to meet with their patients three days before the procedure.

In rejecting a challenge to the law by Missouri’s two Planned Parenthood affiliates, Jackson County Circuit Judge S. Margene Burnett found that the requirement did not impose an “undue burden” on women seeking an abortion.

Just two weeks before new regulations on Missouri abortion providers would take effect, the state’s Planned Parenthood affiliates are challenging the provisions in state court.

The same day a federal appeals court overruled itself and voted to block two Missouri abortion restrictions, the state advised Missouri abortion providers that they will have to abide by a new restriction.

A memo dated Oct. 2 from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) says the agency will file emergency rules on Oct. 24 establishing standards for “complication plans” for medication-induced abortions.

Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, and Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, discuss abortion regulations on the Senate floor on Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 3 p.m. on Wednesday with information about Greitens signing the bill: JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Physicians will have to meet with women seeking abortions three days before the procedure and Missouri’s attorney general will have the ability to enforce abortion laws under the bill that Gov. Eric Greitens signed into law on Wednesday.

Greitens spokesman Parker Briden confirmed that the Republican governor signed Sen. Andrew Koenig's bill into law on Wednesday afternoon. Koenig's bill, which will go into effect in late October, passed on Tuesday by a 22-9 vote and came after a Democratic filibuster. Supporters say the legislation will make clinics safer, while critics contend it will make it harder for women to obtain abortions. The legislation may also complicate Planned Parenthood’s bid to expand throughout the state.

Jennifer Morrow | Flickr

Missouri is poised to strip additional providers from a state-run program that provides family planning services for uninsured women.

The budget lawmakers are sending to Gov. Eric Greitens contains a provision that prohibits hospitals and clinics from participating in the Missouri Women's State-Funded Health Services Program if the organization also provides abortion services, as defined by a state law for sexual education in schools.

The budget also cuts the program’s funding by $4.6 million.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley appeals a judge's ruling to block two abortion restrictions in the state.
WP PAARZ | FLICKR

 

As expected, Missouri has appealed a federal judge’s ruling blocking two abortion restrictions enacted by the Legislature in 2007.

Attorney General Josh Hawley had said he would appeal the preliminary injunction entered by U.S District Judge Howard Sachs last week.

The injunction blocks Missouri’s laws requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and abortion clinics to be outfitted like ambulatory surgical centers.

Jamie Young and her daughter Maya, 3, listen to a speaker during a demonstration outside of U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt's office in Clayton. The group delivered petitions in support of Planned Parenthood.  Feb 23 2016
File photo | Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Clinics that provide contraception and checkups for about 70,000 uninsured Missouri women may lose state funding next fiscal year, if they give patients information about abortion.  

Courtesy of Planned Parenthood Great Plains

The law signed on Thursday by President Trump allowing states to cut off family-planning funding to Planned Parenthood won’t have an immediate effect on the organization’s affiliates in Missouri and Kansas.

That’s because Kansas barred Planned Parenthood from receiving Title X family planning funds several years ago — a move later upheld by a federal appeals court.

Abortion opponents stand on a street median as Planned Parenthood supporters march past the organization's Central West End clinic February 11, 2017.
File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Rallies for and against Planned Parenthood took place Saturday in St. Louis and across the country.

Anti-abortion groups coordinated events in cities nationwide to show their support for an effort in Congress that would block the organization from receiving any federal funding.

Abortion rights activists responded by arranging counter-protests.

Kadie Tannehill and Mary Kogut joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss the restrictions placed on abortion in Missouri and the impact some of those restrictions have on St. Louisans.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Even after the Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade legalized abortion at a federal level in 1973, states have since reserved the right to place regulations and restriction on the process — and Missouri has several such rules.

Robin, 37, at her home in St. Louis.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

After three years and two rounds of in-vitro fertilization, things were finally looking up.   

Robin, a 37-year-old project manager who lives in St. Louis County, went in for a routine 21-week ultrasound with her husband this past November. The couple had no idea that something was wrong.  

Patients entering the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis are often greeted by a line of protesters.
File photo | Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Planned Parenthood clinics in St. Louis are taking stock of the $700,000 hit they may absorb under a new state law and a shifting federal landscape.

Last year, the Missouri legislature used a budgetary measure to cut the women’s health provider from the state’s Medicaid program. The process takes several months and requires federal approval, so the rule has yet to take effect.

A plan by the Republican-controlled Congress to dismantle the Affordable Care Act also includes a measure that would strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood, according to remarks made by House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Missouri’s two Planned Parenthood affiliates on Wednesday morning sued to overturn the state’s highly restrictive abortion laws, a move expected since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down similar laws in Texas in June. 

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Jefferson City, sets up a showdown over state statutes that were enacted in the wake of the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which held that the right to an abortion in the early stages of pregnancy is rooted in the Constitution.

Missouri must pay more than $156,000 in attorneys’ fees after losing a court battle against Planned Parenthood over the revocation of its abortion license in Columbia, Missouri, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey on Monday awarded Planned Parenthood Great Plains (formerly Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri) all but $157.50 of the legal fees and expenses it sought after it prevailed in the case.

Planned Parenthood supporters rally in 2015 outside the agency's clinic in St. Louis after a mass shooting at a clinic in Colorado Springs.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

State officials charged with overseeing Missouri’s changes in its women’s health program for the poor are officially estimating it will be next April before a new state-funded program is in place that bars Planned Parenthood from participating.

Missouri’s Department of Social Services has posted its phase-out plan on its website. It comes after Gov. Jay Nixon announced Thursday that it will take months for the state to replace its federally funded women’s health program – which must include Planned Parenthood – with a state-funded program that does not.

Kurt Schaefer
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back Sen. Kurt Schaefer to the program. The Columbia Republican, who usually sports cowboy boots, last was a guest of the show in late 2014.

State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Planned Parenthood's St. Louis clinic has agreed to hand over some documents to the Missouri Senate on how it disposes of fetal tissue.

As part of the negotiated agreement the Senate will suspend contempt proceedings against Planned Parenthood regional director Mary Kogut. The contempt measure was sponsored by Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia.

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