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KBIA’s Health & Wealth Desk covers the economy and health of rural and underserved communities in Missouri and beyond. The team produces a weekly radio segment, as well as in-depth features and regular blog posts. The reporting desk is funded by a grant from the University of Missouri, and the Missouri Foundation for Health.Contact the Health & Wealth desk.

Judge Temporarily Prevents Revocation of Planned Parenthood Abortion Facility License

Rebecca Smith

A federal judge, U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey, has blocked the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services from revoking the abortion facility license of the Columbia Planned Parenthood clinic.

According to the Associated Press, the temporary restraining order will expire Wednesday after another hearing. 

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri (PPKM)  filed a lawsuit against Peter Lyskowski, the acting director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). The lawsuit seeks a “declaratory judgement and preliminary and permanent injunction relief” for the Columbia Planned Parenthood clinic.

Laura McQuade, the President and CEO of PPKM, said the clinic in Columbia will still be unable to perform abortions as of Tuesday, December 1, 2015, but the lawsuit could preserve the clinic’s abortion facility license until a new provider could be found or the privileging process could be completed for the current physician.

The lawsuit follows letters received by the Columbia Planned Parenthood clinic from the DHSS stating that the clinic’s abortion facility license will be revoked at the end of the business day on November 30, 2015.

In the claim, PPKM states that the Department’s decision to remove the license concurrently with the end of their physician’s privileges through MU Health Care violates the clinic’s procedural due process rights.

Planned Parenthood claims that DHSS’s action “does not provide sufficient time for PPKM’s physician to obtain new hospital privileges, or, alternatively, for PPKM to locate a new physician to provide abortions at the Columbia Center and for that physician to obtain hospital privileges, if necessary.”

In the “Factual Allegations” section of the suit, PPKM claims “DHSS has never before immediately revoked the Columbia Center’s Abortion Facility,” and explained the situation surrounded the last time the clinic failed to meet the privileges physician requirement.

According to the suit, DHSS did not revoke the clinic’s license in June 2012 when the clinic’s prior physician resigned their position. But instead, renewed the license in June 2013 and then placed the license in suspended status in September 2013 due to a lack of provider.

McQuade said that along with the lawsuit, the organization was continuing to request that Interim Chancellor Hank Foley extend the “refer and follow” privileges for the clinic’s provider.

At approximately 3:15 pm, the Office of the Interim Chancellor released a statement via a campus-wide email supporting the decision made by the Medical Staff Executive Committee at MU Health Care in September.

“Thus, after a thorough policy review by MU Health Care, refer and follow privileges will be discontinued Dec. 1, 2015.  Two physicians were affected by this, and neither requested an appeal.  Any physician seeking privileges at MU Health Care goes through the same vetting process,” Foley wrote.

In the statement, Foley added, “As a state and federally funded university with a health system, we are required to follow applicable state and federal laws.”

This story will be updated as additional information becomes available. 

Rebecca Smith is an award-winning reporter and producer for the KBIA Health & Wealth Desk. Born and raised outside of Rolla, Missouri, she has a passion for diving into often overlooked issues that affect the rural populations of her state – especially stories that broaden people’s perception of “rural” life.
The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.
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