U.S. appeals court says Missouri can
enforce abortion laws
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[September 11, 2018]
By Nate Raymond
(Reuters) - A federal appeals court on
Monday cleared the way for Missouri to enforce state laws requiring
doctors who perform abortions to be affiliated with hospitals and
abortion clinics to be licensed as ambulatory surgical centers.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis overturned a 2017
ruling that blocked enforcement of those laws and opened the door for
more abortion providers to operate in the state, which at the time had
Monday's decision comes in a 2016 lawsuit filed by affiliates of the
women's health organization Planned Parenthood in the wake of a U.S.
Supreme Court ruling that year that struck down similar abortion
restrictions in Texas.
The Missouri laws require doctors who perform abortions to have
admitting privileges at local hospitals, which can be difficult to
obtain, and for abortion clinics to have costly hospital-grade
facilities to be licensed as ambulatory surgical centers.
The court said it did not have enough information to determine how
easily abortion clinics could obtain waivers from the licensing rules
and whether those requirements posed an undue burden on clinics.
U.S. Circuit Judge Bobby Shepherd, who wrote the opinion, said the
lower-court judge also erred by not considering the state's arguments
about the benefits of the provision requiring doctors who perform
abortions be affiliated with hospitals.
"Invoking the Constitution to enjoin the laws of a state requires more
than 'slight implication and vague conjecture,'" Shepherd wrote. "At a
minimum, it requires adequate information and correct application of the
The lawsuit was filed by Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood
Great Plains and Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of
the St. Louis Region.
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President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a Republican Party
fundraiser in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, U.S., September 7, 2018.
Planned Parenthood in a statement said the ruling threatens to shut
down abortion services at one of Missouriís two clinics that can
Missouri's attorney general did not respond to a request for
Abortion and the landmark 1973 ruling Roe v. Wade that legalized the
procedure have been a central issue in the U.S. Senate confirmation
process for Republican President Donald Trumpís U.S. Supreme Court
nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Some states are passing restrictive abortion laws in anticipation
they will be upheld by an increasingly conservative Supreme Court.
"Look no farther than Missouri to see what kind of harm courts can
inflict on womenís rights and freedoms," Dawn Laguens, executive
vice president, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a
(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston, Editing by Alexia Garamfalvi
and Cynthia Osterman)
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