Judge blocks abortion-restricting rules for Missouri, AG Hawley will appeal

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The United States Supreme Court struck down a similar law in Texas a year ago. Webb City State Representative Charlie Davis tells NewsTalk KZRG the judge is over-reaching his authority.

Planned Parenthood affiliates with Missouri health centers had sought the move in suing over Missouri's restrictions last November. Davis says those groups should not be optimistic at this point. The result, wrote Judge Sachs, is that the "ability to function as abortion clinics and to perform abortions is crippled in Columbia, Springfield and Joplin, and to some extent in Kansas City...", leaving only one center in the state, in St. Louis, performing abortions. "I have a strong feeling that our attorney general will most likely appeal that ruling".

But Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican, vowed to appeal.

The state laws are at the center of an ongoing legal challenge brought by Planned Parenthood affiliates in Missouri, who feel the Hellerstedt ruling could open the door for abortions to be performed statewide.

"We are proud to say this is a step forward in ensuring abortion is more than a right in name only", they said.

U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs said earlier this month that he planned to grant a preliminary injunction invalidating requirements for the state's abortion clinics to meet standards for surgical centers and for their doctors to have hospital privileges.

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"Missouri has an obligation to do everything possible to ensure the health and safety of women undergoing medical procedures in state licensed medical facilities", he added.

The Planned Parenthood clinic in Springfield has never offered abortions.

Bonyen Lee-Gilmore, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Great Plains, said April 6 that an injunction on the restrictions would allow the the Columbia facility to offer medical abortions.

In a joint statement, the Planned Parenthood plaintiffs said, "Today's victory means countless Missourians will have expanded access to safe, legal abortion".

Planned Parenthood's top regional officials called the injunction "resounding affirmation we've long awaited — that medically unnecessary restrictions" were "thought up by extremists in Jefferson City".

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