According to CBS News, Missouri’s health department is putting the last functioning abortion clinic in the state in a position where it would have to cease its abortion services.
Planned Parenthood stated Missouri is "refusing to renew" its annual license to provide abortion in the state. If an agreement can’t be reached and the license is not renewed by May 31, Missouri would become the first state without a clinic providing abortion services since 1973, when Roe v. Wade was decided. It would however be able to provide other services for women.
Following weeks of back-and-forth with state health officials Planned Parenthood and the Missouri health department cannot seem to come to terms that will allow the abortion services to continue.
The health department raised three concerns and Planned Parenthood said it would address two of them: adjusting who at the clinic provided the state-mandated counseling and adding an additional pelvic exam for abortion patients.
The third request, in which the health department sought to investigate "deficient practices," and needed to interview seven physicians who provide care at the clinic, could not be completed because 5 of the 7 physicians were not in their employ. Those physicians provide services at the facility but aren't employed by Planned Parenthood and have not agreed to be interviewed.
In its letter, the Department of Health wrote that it could not "complete our investigation until it interviews the physicians involved in the care provided in the potential deficient practices," and that "the investigation needs to be completed and any deficiencies resolved before the expiration of [the clinic's] license on May 31, 2019."
"We are 100 percent committed to the best care that we can provide for patients. So certainly if there is an issue with the care we're providing we want to know about it," she said. "We want to be able to address that. But we can't do that when we're being attacked."
A total of six states have passed laws banning virtually all abortions, but in each case, the laws are being challenged in court or have not been enacted. But now it appears Missouri would be losing its last clinic as a result of state regulations, not a new law.
Planned Parenthood said it plans to sue the state "in order to try to keep serving Missouri women."
"This is not a drill. This is not a warning. This is a real public health crisis," said Dr. Leana Wen, president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
In 2008, Missouri had 5 abortion clinics.
"This a chilling warning for all of us that we are in a public health crisis," said Dr. Wen in an email to CBS News.
"Today it's Missouri, tomorrow it could be all of America."