By Robert Langellier
ST. LOUIS, June 21 (Reuters) - Missouri health officials told the state’s only abortion clinic on Friday that they would not renew its license ahead of a scheduled court hearing over clinic operator Planned Parenthood’s challenge of the threatened closure, a clinic spokesman said.
If the clinic were to close, Missouri would become the only U.S. state without a legal abortion clinic. Planned Parenthood Vice President Jesse Lawder revealed the state’s decision ahead of a court hearing scheduled for Friday.
Missouri officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The state is one of 12 states to pass laws restricting abortion access this year, some aimed at provoking a U.S.Supreme Court review of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that recognized a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy.
Planned Parenthood sued Missouri health officials after they warned they would decline to renew the license of the Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood clinic in St.Louis on the grounds it failed to meet their standards.
However, State Circuit Court Judge Michael Stelzer on June 10 issued a preliminary injunction saying the state needed to make an “official” decision by Friday on the license, which was set to expire on May 31, before it can be reviewed. (Writing by Gabriella Borter; Editing by Scott Malone, Sonya Hepinstall and Jonathan Oatis)