UPDATE: Judge allows abortions to continue in St. Louis through Friday
JEFFERSON CITY - Planned Parenthood can continue carrying out abortions at its St. Louis clinic through Friday, a circuit judge ruled on Monday.
Judge Micheal Stelzer said the group's licensing battle with the state health department should be taken to the Administrative Hearing Commission, a panel that typically handles disputes between state agencies and businesses or individuals.
The health department has said the clinic has a record of substandard care. The agency said it's decision not to renew the license also centers on some docotors refusal to testify.
Stelzer also extended a preliminary injunction to give the clinic time to address the licensing battle before the panel.
If the commission does not respond by 5 p.m. on Friday, abortions will no longer be available in Missouri.
Dr. Colleen McNicholas, an OB/GYN with Planned Parenthood, said the dispute is creating uncertainty for patients.
"Abortion care is health care and patients in need of this service shouldn’t have to wait day by day wondering if they can access care tomorrow, nor should they have ever had to undergo invasive exams that have nothing to do with their health," she said.