Planned Parenthood affiliates in Missouri that last year challenged abortion regulations in the state with a successful lawsuit have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to vacate an appeals court stay of the district court’s decision.
Insisting the regulations in question were in place for patient safety, the state of Missouri in May appealed U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs’ ruling from the month before in favor of Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains. The organization had stated in a 2016 suit that state laws requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals and holding clinics where abortions are performed to the standards of ambulatory surgical centers provided no medical benefit and restricted access to legal abortions.
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has maintained the laws should be kept in place for safety, and Gov. Eric Greitens said via Twitter when Sachs issued his ruling that the state would “keep fighting every day to protect the innocent unborn” by appealing the decision.
In a second attempt to get Sachs’ decision delayed while the appellate steps played out, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Sept. 15 approved the state’s request for a stay. Planned Parenthood representatives had previously said the organization would seek to expand abortion services from two clinics — one each in Kansas City and St. Louis — to three additional locations, including one in Joplin. A spokesperson in June said the organization had applied for a license that would allow it to offer medically induced abortions in Joplin.
Attempts to reach Planned Parenthood officials for an update on the issue Monday were unsuccessful.
The 8th Circuit’s stay effectively reverts the organization’s operations back to the level they were before the lawsuit was filed.
This past Friday, Comprehensive Health sent the Supreme Court an application to vacate the appeals court’s stay, which would reinstate the district court ruling while the state’s appeal of it plays out.
“These laws were crafted by ideologically extreme politicians, not doctors,” Planned Parenthood Great Plains interim President and CEO Aaron Samulcek said in a statement announcing the Supreme Court application. “We all want to protect patient safety, and admitting privilege and…