St. Louis judge allows abortions to continue for the time being

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – A Missouri judge says the state’s lone abortion clinic can continue performing abortions, at least in the near future.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Michael Stelzer on Monday ruled to extend a preliminary injunction he previously issued to allow a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis to continue performing abortions through June 28.

He says the extension is intended to give the clinic time to bring a licensing dispute with the state before an administrative panel.

The health department on Friday declined to renew the clinic’s license to perform abortions. Concerns included three “failed abortions” that required additional surgeries, and another that the agency said led to life-threatening complications.

Clinic leaders say the license fight is part of an effort by an anti-abortion administration to eliminate the procedure.

Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Colleen McNicholas in a Monday statement said the St. Louis clinic will continue its fight through the Administrative Hearing Commission.

McNicholas says abortion access in Missouri will be gone if the commission doesn’t act by Friday.

Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s spokesman Steele Shippy says the judge’s ruling affirms the state’s contention that the licensing dispute should be heard by the state commission.

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