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Missouri Appeals Decision Blocking Abortion Restrictions

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As expected, Missouri has appealed a federal judge’s ruling blocking two abortion restrictions enacted by the Legislature in 2007.

Attorney General Josh Hawley had said he would appeal the preliminary injunction entered by U.S District Judge Howard Sachs last week.

The injunction blocks Missouri’s laws requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and abortion clinics to be outfitted like ambulatory surgical centers.

Sachs, who sits in Kansas City, ruled he was bound by a U.S. Supreme Court case last year finding similar restrictions in Texas to be unconstitutional.

Supporters of the restrictions say they promote women’s health and safety. But opponents say they do nothing to further those aims and impose unnecessary burdens on abortion providers and patients.

In his decision, Sachs found that Planned Parenthood, which challenged the restrictions, was very likely to succeed at trial. The organization argues that the restrictions violate the Constitution and cause "irreparable harm" to its patients. 

Hawley has asked Sachs to stay his injunction pending appeal. As of mid-Friday, Sachs had not ruled on the request.

Planned Parenthood says it plans to begin offering abortion services at its clinics in Kansas City, Springfield and Joplin as soon as possible. Right now, its St. Louis clinic is the lone abortion provider in the state.

The fate of the Missouri case now rests with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis.

Dan Margolies is KCUR’s health editor. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies.

As a reporter covering breaking news and legal affairs, I want to demystify often-complex legal issues in order to expose the visible and invisible ways they affect people’s lives. I cover issues of justice and equity, and seek to ensure that significant and often under-covered developments get the attention they deserve so that KCUR listeners and readers are equipped with the knowledge they need to act as better informed citizens. Email me at dan@kcur.org.
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