Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Judge Forces Abortion Clinic Open With NO Doctor

In accordance with Missouri law, state health officials prepared to revoke Planned Parenthood's license to perform abortions in Columbia because abortionist Colleen McNicholas lost her hospital admitting privileges, but yesterday U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey blocked the revocation to allow the clinic until May 1, 2016 to reestablish its hospital privileges.

-- From "Judge Stops Missouri From Revoking Abortion License of Planned Parenthood Clinic" by The Associated Press 12/28/15

After national anti-abortion activists released undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing the handling of fetal tissue, Missouri Republican lawmakers began investigating abortion in the state. During those investigations, a panel of [University of Missouri] Health Care staff voted in September to discontinue the clinical privileges granted to Dr. Colleen McNicholas, ending the clinic's ability to provide abortions.

U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey's ruling came in a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood of Kansas and mid-Missouri [PPKM] after the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said in September it would revoke the clinic's abortion license Dec. 1. Laughrey had issued a temporary restraining order, which was scheduled to expire Monday.

The Missouri Attorney General's office is reviewing the ruling, spokeswoman Nanci Gonder said.

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From "Missouri blocked from revoking Columbia Planned Parenthood's abortion license" by Alex Stuckey, St. Louis Post-Dispatch 12/28/15

The clinic, however, still cannot perform abortions until a physician affiliated with it has hospital privileges. That makes the St. Louis facility the only legal abortion clinic in the state.

To perform abortions, Planned Parenthood must be licensed as an ambulatory surgical center. Planned Parenthood argued that the department did not give it the same opportunity to correct the problem that has been extended to other surgical centers. Under state law, centers informed of a deficiency must develop and implement a plan of correction, approved by the department.

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From "DHSS blocked from revoking Planned Parenthood abortion license" posted at The Missouri Times 12/28/15

“The Equal Protection Clause prohibits the government from irrationally discriminating between similarly situated entities,” Laughery wrote in her ruling. “Having reviewed the evidentiary record, the Court finds that it is likely that DHSS treated PPKM more harshly than other similarly situated institutions and thereby violated the Equal Protection Clause.”

Sen. Kurt Schaefer, also a candidate for attorney general, led the fight to revoke the license, and Laughery said Schaefer’s vocal involvement in the effort may have undermined it.

“The record also reflects that PPKM was treated disparately as a result of animus toward PPKM,” Laughery wrote. “Mr. [John] Langston… who has responsibility over ASCs at DHSS and whose staff would normally be in charge of generating notices of deficiencies and overseeing plans of correction submitted by ASCs… suggested that DHSS feared retaliation from Senator Schaefer if it did not act in accordance with the senator’s goals, as Senator Schaefer both chaired the Senate Interim Committee on Sanctity of Life and sat on the Senate Appropriations Committee.”

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