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Today, a judge in Missouri blocked the state from forcing doctors in training to testify in court. This comes after the same court issued temporary relief just hours before the health center’s abortion license was set to expire on Friday. Oral arguments have been scheduled for tomorrow, June 5, at 9 am Central on Planned Parenthood’s request for a preliminary injunction. The temporary restraining order remains in place until the judge decides whether to grant the preliminary injunction which would continue to protect abortion access at the last health center that provides abortion care while the case continues in court. This case will decide whether Missouri will become the first state in the country since Roe v. Wade to have zero health centers that provide abortion.

Statement from Dr. Leana Wen, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
"Last week, we came within hours of having an entire state without a health center that provides abortion care—the first since Roe v. Wade. Friday’s ruling meant that patients across the state of Missouri could breathe a sigh of relief — for now. But we’ve seen just how vulnerable access to safe, legal abortion is in Missouri. This is no longer hypothetical: it’s a public health crisis. We will never stop fighting for our patients and will do whatever it takes to ensure people can get the care they need—no matter what."

Statement from Dr. Colleen McNicholas, OBGYN, Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region:
"We are in this fight, day by day, to ensure we can continue caring for patients tomorrow. For the patients who need access to safe, legal abortion -- we are still here. Planned Parenthood is also relieved that doctors in training will not have to come to court and face the unwarranted harassment we’ve long said is inappropriate. We look forward to another day in this fight -- for our patients and for the doctors who provide safe, legal abortion."

Here are four things you need to know ahead of tomorrow’s court hearing in Missouri.

  1. Missouri Gov. Parson has spent the past week dodging protesters after court filings revealed there was no patient complaint at the Planned Parenthood health center. He and Department of Health and Senior Services Director, Randall Williams, led Planned Parenthood to believe there was one when the Department was actually creating its own investigation and insisting that young doctors in training at Planned Parenthood be interrogated. Under the guise of health and safety, DHSS officials held the abortion license hostage forcing the health center to take the state to court.
  2. On a call with donors and Republican leaders, Gov. Parson’s administration admitted his motive was to “#shutthemdown”. This shows the clear and concise motive of Gov. Parson and his political appointees use the license renewal process to ban abortion rather than to promote patient health and safety. Rather, a political game played on the backs of Missouri women.
  3. On Friday, as the clock ticked down on abortion access in Missouri, Louisiana became the sixth state this year to ban abortion before many women even know they’re pregnant. Gov. Edwards signed the ban into law almost immediately. This year, a total of 20 abortion bans have passed in 12 states, crystallizing an emboldened state policy agenda to ban abortion fueled by the Trump administration.
  4. Some states like Illinois are stepping up and preparing for the day abortion access is eliminated in states like Missouri. While Missouri and Louisiana are the latest states to show just how dead set some politicians are on banning abortion, Illinois passed the Reproductive Health Act, enshrining a right to safe, legal abortion in the state. In the last remaining hours of the Illinois legislative session, as lawmakers watched what was happening in their neighboring state of Missouri, they quickly pushed this bill over the finish line knowing more Missouri women could need services in Illinois soon.

If you are covering state abortion policies and have any questions, please feel free to reach out to [email protected].