ST. LOUIS – Missouri moved closer to becoming the first state without an abortion clinic Friday when its health department rejected a license renewal for the St. Louis Planned Parenthood location.
A judge had ordered the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to decide by Friday whether it would renew a license for the clinic, Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region.
The clinic will remain open until further court order, Judge Michael Stelzer said Friday. Should it close, Missouri would become the first state without an abortion clinic in almost 50 years.
The battle has been brewing for weeks, as states across the country move to restrict access to the procedure.
The St. Louis Planned Parenthood clinic sued the state’s health department for refusing to renew its license, which was set to expire May 31. Stelzer granted a preliminary injunction that let the clinic keep performing abortions while state officials decided on its license.
Abortion remains legal in all 50 states under Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling.
States this year have approved numerous challenges to it. The most restrictive is in Alabama, which bans virtually all abortions and could send doctors to prison for life if they perform the procedure. That law, slated to go into effect in the fall, is being challenged in court.