ST. LOUIS, MO — An Administrative Hearing Commission ruled today that the State of Missouri wrongfully withheld the health license of Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region (RHS) — Missouri’s sole clinic that provides abortion. The clinic will continue to perform critical abortion services in Missouri, a state with some of the most burdensome and dangerous restrictions on abortion in the nation.
In 2019, Governor Mike Parson weaponized the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) in a politically-charged attempt to withhold Planned Parenthood of St. Louis’ medical license. Under the guidance of DHSS Director Randall Williams, the DHSS forced Missourians to undergo a medically unnecessary and invasive pelvic exam before obtaining an abortion. In October of 2019, it was revealed that Williams tracked the menstrual cycles of patients at RHS in an attempt to shut down the clinic.
Statement from Mallory Schwarz, Executive Director, NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri
“Governor Mike Parson and his anti-abortion allies at the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) banded together to rob people of their ability to control their bodies. These shameless attacks on abortion access are another reckless attempt to advance their dangerous anti-reproductive freedom agenda — and at the expense of Missourians’ well-being. Today is a pivotal victory for reproductive freedom, and the beginning of a new day in Missouri.”
“Governor Parson and the anti-abortion movement will not be let off the hook for the attacks they launched on abortion in a state already struggling with COVID-19 and a skyrocketing maternal mortality crisis. A vast majority of Missourians support legal and accessible abortion — and they vote. Today, tomorrow, and in November, Missourians in every corner of our state will make sure Governor Parson pays the price for his relentless attacks on reproductive freedom.”
In May of 2019, a state judge blocked the DHSS’s initial attempt to shut down RHS Planned Parenthood in St. Louis. The Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC) in Missouri granted a stay, allowing Planned Parenthood to continue providing abortions while the case challenging the state’s denial of the clinic’s license was litigated. Today, the AHC ruled that RHS provides safe abortions and the clinic’s license was wrongfully withheld, ordered RHS’s license to be renewed.
Abortion remains legal in Missouri — and across all 50 states. But decades of attacks from the Governor’s Mansion and Missouri General Assembly, and the Department of Health and Senior Services itself have pushed access to abortion completely out of reach for many. Recent data released by Planned Parenthood found that Missourians are already fleeing the state in order to access essential abortion services.
NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri is the leading grassroots pro-choice advocacy organization in Missouri, and we believe that every person who can get pregnant should be able to make personal decisions about the full range of reproductive health options. NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri works to protect the right of every person who can get pregnant to access the full range of reproductive health options, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri is the state affiliate of NARAL Pro-Choice America.