On Thursday, Missouri’s only abortion clinic was issued a license to operate for another year. The license ensures that Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region can continue safely providing abortions until it must be renewed again in June 2021.

The license comes after a year-long dispute with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. In 2019, officials claimed to have found “deficient practices” at the clinic in a state audit. After this, they neglected to renew their license and Planned Parenthood sued. In May, Missouri’s Administrative Hearing Commission ruled in favor of the Planned Parenthood clinic, stating that the Department of Health and Senior Services was wrong to not renew the license. “Planned Parenthood has demonstrated that it provides safe and legal abortion care,” wrote Missouri Administrative Hearing Commissioner Sreenivasa Rao Dandamudi in the ruling.

Earlier this month, department officials executed an on-site inspection of the clinic before officially reissuing the license. Yamelsie Rodríguez, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis region, explained that the “process was prompt, the inspectors were cordial, and we appreciate the department’s work to issue the license.”

Rodríguez further criticized the licensure ordeal. “This abortion license, while critical to our ability to provide care, still cannot undo the harm that longstanding medically unnecessary policies in our state inflict on patients,” she said. Missouri is home to very restrictive abortion laws that have prevented patients from seeking the care they need and has pushed many to cross state lines. These laws have included a 72-hour waiting period before receiving an abortion and a statewide ban on insurance coverage for abortion services.

The deadline to appeal the ruling is Monday and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has not indicated whether or not they will appeal.

ABC News 6/25/20; Feminist Newswire 3/12/20; The Kansas City Star 6/25/20

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