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Appeals court blocks decision regarding licensing abortion clinics

The Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has blocked enforcement of a lower court order over licensing abortion clinics in Missouri.

The one-sentence order issued Sept. 15 has left a sense of uncertainty regarding the expansion of abortion services in Missouri. Earlier this month, Planned Parenthood announced it was reinstating abortion services in Kansas City, Mo. Abortion services were expected to be restored soon in Columbia, Mo.

In April, U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs granted a motion by Planned Parenthood to block longstanding laws requiring abortion doctors to have local hospital privileges and that abortion clinics be licensed as ambulatory surgical centers. Attorney General Josh Hawley appealed the decision.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services already had issued a license to the clinic in Kansas City. Deacon Samuel Lee, a pro-life lobbyist with Campaign Life Missouri, said he doesn't expect that clinics in Columbia, Joplin and Springfield., Mo., will receive licenses anytime soon.

"This is very good news," Deacon Lee said. "The laws that protect the health and safety of women seeking abortions are going to stay in place while the lower court decision is being appealed. I don't expect any more abortion clinic licenses to be issued by the state anytime soon." 

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