Missouri on Friday denied a license for the only abortion clinic in the state amid a legal dispute with the state's Planned Parenthood division over what officials call “troubling” violations at the clinics.
The Kansas City Star reported that the decision came prior to a court hearing and was announced by a Planned Parenthood spokesperson. The outlet reported that it has no immediate impact because of an injunction that keeps the clinic open.
St. Louis Circuit Judge Michael Stelzer had told the state it can’t let the license lapse but must either renew or deny it, and set a Friday deadline.
If the St. Louis facility is closed, Missouri would be the first state without a functioning abortion clinic since 1974, the year after the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
Missouri's case for not renewing the clinic's license includes a claim that three "failed abortions" there required additional surgeries and another led to life-threatening complications for the mother, according to a court filing. The state called the conditions at the clinic "troubling."
"These instances raised grave concerns regarding the quality of care, standard of care, and compliance with statutes and regulations designed to protect women’s health and safety," the state wrote in the motion.
According to documents, three patients remained pregnant after surgical or medical abortions and required follow-up surgical abortions, Missouri Department of Health official William Koebel wrote last week to Planned Parenthood. Koebel said that one of those patients developed sepsis after the second surgical abortion.
Koebel wrote that a fourth patient was hospitalized with life-threatening complications following an abortion at 21 weeks of pregnancy. Planned Parenthood has said that the residents and several other physicians are not staffers and some no longer practice there, so the organization can't force them to cooperate. Two on-staff doctors agreed to speak with investigators.
State attorneys filed the records in court after Planned Parenthood sued last month in an attempt to continue providing abortion, despite the state health department's refusal to renew its license amid an ongoing investigation.
Missouri is one of a number of states that have passed restrictions on abortions amid an increasing push in red states to push back on abortion rights, and potentially challenge Roe.
Gov. Mike Parson signed legislation in May to ban abortions at or beyond eight weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for medical emergencies but not for rape or incest. Efforts to put the new law to a public vote are tied up in court.
Planned Parenthood of St. Louis told Fox News this week that it plans to defy a state regulation that says it must perform two pelvic exams for women seeking an abortion -- one at least 72 hours before the procedure.
“Patients have confirmed for us what we already knew — that the additional medically unnecessary forced pelvic exam newly interpreted by the state is deeply traumatizing and inhumane," Dr. Colleen McNicholas, an OBGYN for the Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, said in a statement to Fox. "Let’s be clear — we have always complied with the regulation, but we as doctors reject this new interpretation because it defies patient-centered care."
Fox News’ Gregg Re, Caleb Parke and The Associated Press contributed to this report.