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Planned Parenthood seeks end of doctor privileges rule

Planned Parenthood is asking a federal court to suspend a state regulation that the organization says is preventing it from getting a license to perform local abortions.

Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains filed the renewed motion for a preliminary injunction in its case against the state of Missouri late last week. The clinic’s license to perform abortions expired in October after a federal judge declined to renew it.

Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in November 2016 challenging the state’s requirement that a doctor with admitting privileges at a local hospital perform abortions, but Judge Brian Wimes ruled in October that the clinic was in violation of other regulations that would also prevent it from acquiring a license.

The expiration of the license reduced the number of clinics licensed to perform abortions in the state to one.

In its newest court filing, Planned Parenthood argues it has taken all steps to get a new license other than hiring a doctor with local hospital privileges. Planned Parenthood also renewed its argument that the privileges requirement does nothing to make abortions safer.

The organization is seeking a ruling before Jan. 28, when abortions are scheduled to start at the clinic on Providence Road.

“For nearly three months, Missouri has had just a single abortion provider, and women across the state have had to travel hundreds of miles– twice –to access care in Missouri,” Emily Wales, general counsel for Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, said in a written statement. “Patients deserve better, and we are eager to resume abortion services at our Columbia health center. We have requested relief in federal district court from a medically unnecessary requirement that is virtually identical to one struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016.”

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