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Hearing set over Columbia Planned Parenthood clinic’s abortion license

Officials with the Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri and Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services were preparing for a hearing that could determine the fate of a Columbia Planned Parenthood clinic’s abortion license Wednesday.

The hearing is scheduled to start at 1:00 Wednesday afternoon.

It comes after MU Health Care ended it’s refer and follow privileges given to the doctor that works with Planned Parenthood. MU officials voted to end these privileges back in September, however they were officially discontinued at 11:59 Monday night.

Planned Parenthood officials say the doctor at the Columbia clinic has already applied for different privileges at MU Health Care. They said they wanted MU Interim Chancellor Hank Foley to extend the expiration date for the doctor’s original privileges until the application process for the new privileges was finished.

On Monday Foley announced he would not extend the expiration date for those original “refer and follow” privileges.

State law requires that a doctor at the clinic have those privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic in order to perform abortions. After Foley’s announcement, Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services, or DHSS, said it planned to revoke the clinic’s abortion license at midnight on Monday.

That same day, Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri filed a federal lawsuit in an effort to keep the Columbia clinic’s abortion facility license.

A federal judge then temporarily blocked the DHSS from revoking the clinic’s license by issuing atemporary restraining order Monday. That restraining order is set to expire Wednesday night.

Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit says is is “seeking a declaratory judgment and preliminary and permanent injunctive relief…to prevent Defendant Department of Health and Senior Services from unlawfully revoking Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri’s license to operate an abortion facility in Columbia, Missouri.”

The lawsuit alleges that the revocation is not required by Missouri law and says the DHSS has never tried to revoke Planned Parenthood’s license in these circumstances before. The lawsuit also says the doctor’s loss of privileges in no way relates to the quality of care provided by the physician or the clinic. It says the loss of the doctor’s privileges is the result of “recent political attacks on Planned Parenthood by anti-abortion activists.”

The lawsuit also alleges that the DHSS action does not provide sufficient time for the clinic’s physician to try to get new hospital privileges or to allow for the clinic to try to find a new physician.

Officials would not elaborate on what they plan to discuss in Wednesday’s hearing.

This is developing story. ABC 17 News will keep reaching out to those involved in Wednesday’s hearing to ask what was discussed. We’ll keep updating this story as we learn more.

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