Missouri’s last abortion clinic says it could be forced to shut down this week

  • Planned Parenthood told CBS News that Missouri’s health department is “refusing to renew” its license to carry out abortions.
  • The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services told Planned Parenthood on May 20 that it needed to interview seven physicians that work at the clinic before it renews the license.
  • Planned Parenthood said it only employed two of the seven physicians who provide services at the clinic, and the other five had declined to be interviewed as part of the investigation.
  • If the license expires on May 31, Missouri will become the first state without a functioning abortion clinic since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973.
  • Planned Parenthood said it plans to sue Missouri in an effort to be granted a new license.
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The only abortion clinic still open in Missouri said on Tuesday that it may lose its license this week, forcing it to shut down and effectively end access to the procedure across the state.

Planned Parenthood told CBS News that Missouri’s health department is “refusing to renew” its license to carry out abortions in the state before it interviews every physician who works at the clinic.

If the license expires on May 31, Missouri will become the first state without a functioning abortion clinic since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973.

Planned Parenthood said it plans to sue the state in an effort to be granted a new license. The organization said it will be able to continue providing non-abortion health services for women.

Officials within Planned Parenthood said they have been unable to reach an agreement with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services over an investigation into “deficient practices” before it renews the license.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services told Planned Parenthood on May 20 that it needed to interview seven physicians that work at the clinic. Planned Parenthood said it only employed two of the seven physicians who provide services at the clinic, and the other five had declined to be interviewed as part of the investigation.

Read more: Before Roe v. Wade, desperate women used coat hangers, Coke bottles, Clorox, and sticks in attempted abortions

The Department of Health told Planned Parenthood that it could not complete its 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,” CBS News reported.

“This means that more than 1.1 million women of reproductive age in Missouri will live in a state where they cannot receive the health care they need,” Planned Parenthood President, Dr. Leana Wen, said in a statement to NPR. “This is a world we haven’t seen in nearly half a century.”

Planned Parenthood officials told NPR that the Department of Health indicated that the investigation could lead to criminal proceedings or review for physicians who provide abortions at Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region.

Wen called the Department of Health’s actions “harassment.”

Missouri is among several states that have passed anti-abortion measures in recent weeks.

Missouri’s Republican governor, Mike Parson, signed a bill on Friday that bans abortions beyond the eighth week of pregnancy, with no exceptions for incest or rape.