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The Latest: Missouri defends abortion licensing decision

June 21, 2019
FILE - In this June 4, 2019, file photo, anti-abortion advocates gather outside the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis. Missouri's only abortion clinic, already facing the threat of losing its license, is no longer performing a medical procedure required by the state, calling the procedure "disrespectful and dehumanizing." A Planned Parenthood spokeswoman confirmed a CBS News report that as of Thursday, June 20 the St. Louis clinic no longer performs a pelvic exam during a consultation days before an abortion, as required by the state health department. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
FILE - In this June 4, 2019, file photo, anti-abortion advocates gather outside the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis. Missouri's only abortion clinic, already facing the threat of losing its license, is no longer performing a medical procedure required by the state, calling the procedure "disrespectful and dehumanizing." A Planned Parenthood spokeswoman confirmed a CBS News report that as of Thursday, June 20 the St. Louis clinic no longer performs a pelvic exam during a consultation days before an abortion, as required by the state health department. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Latest on a dispute between the Missouri state health department and a St. Louis clinic over the clinic’s license to perform abortions. (all times local):

12:50 p.m.

The director of Missouri’s health department says Planned Parenthood corrected just four out of 30 deficiencies cited at its abortion clinic in St. Louis, prompting the department’s action to decline to renew its abortion license.

Dr. Randall Williams spoke Friday at a news conference in Jefferson City, hours after the state informed Planned Parenthood of its decision. He did not elaborate on the deficiencies.

A judge’s preliminary injunction remains in place, meaning abortions can continue at Missouri’s only abortion clinic. St. Louis Circuit Judge Michael Stelzer will issue a written order outlining next steps, but it isn’t clear when.

M’Evie Mead, director of Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri, says the state continues to try and “weaponize” the licensing process as part of its effort to end abortion in Missouri.

Health department officials have cited concerns at the clinic, including that three “failed abortions” required additional surgeries, and another led to life-threatening complications.

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10:30 a.m.

Missouri’s health department has declined to renew a license to perform abortions for the state’s lone clinic, but the St. Louis Planned Parenthood affiliate can continue to perform the procedure for now.

The state notified the clinic of its decision Friday morning before a court hearing. St. Louis Circuit Judge Michael Stelzer says a preliminary injunction he previously issued to allow the clinic to continue perform abortions remains in place for now.

He says he will issue a written order outlining next steps.

Health department officials have cited concerns at the clinic, including that three “failed abortions” required additional surgeries, and another 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.

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12:15 a.m.

The battle over Missouri’s only abortion clinic is back in court Friday, the deadline a judge imposed for the state to decide whether to renew the clinic’s license.

Missouri’s health department allowed the St. Louis Planned Parenthood clinic’s abortion license to lapse effective June 1. Rulings by St. Louis Circuit Judge Michael Stelzer allowed the clinic to temporarily remain open.

Stelzer also told the state it can’t simply let the license lapse but must either renew it or deny it. He gave the health department until Friday to decide. That decision could be announced at the court hearing.

According to Planned Parenthood, no state has been without a functioning abortion clinic since 1974, the year after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

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