COLUMBIA, Mo. - On Friday, the U.S. Western District of Missouri Court turned down Planned Parenthood Great Plains' motion for a temporary restraining order.
The restraining order would effectively shut down the new Missouri emergency regulation, or "complication plan," for Planned Parenthood's facility in Columbia.
The complication plan requires medication abortion providers to contract with a second OB/GYN provider who is board-certified or board-eligible, is available 24/7 to treat complications, and has hospital admitting privileges.
If the court ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) would be unable to enforce this plan.
However, the temporary restraining order was denied by the court.
It seemed that one of the court's main issues was that Planned Parenthood didn't provide any evidence to show that the complication plan was an issue.
There were four factors the federal court considered, as stated in the court order, when making the decision whether to grant the Columbia clinic relief from the order or not:
Whether Planned Parenthood would succeed at trial: The court claimed that Planned Parenthood would probably lose at trial because they haven't shown evidence they can't comply with the complication plan nor that the plan puts an undue burden on ability to get an abortion.
The Columbia clinic's ability to comply with the complication plan: The court said that Planned Parenthood hadn't shown they can't comply with regulations, and that they just are challenging the portion of the plan where OB/GYNs must have hospital admitting privileges. In that specific argument, the court says there are circumstances where the privileges aren't required.
The undue burden on women seeking medication abortions: Medication abortions, according to the court, have two steps -- the first where a medicine is administered in a clinic, and the second where the medicine is taken 24-48 hours later and can be taken anywhere.
The court says there isn't any evidence about the number of women who will be affected and how they'd be affected. However, they admit the regulations wouldn't benefit any women or even the state. Planned Parenthood claims that having an OB/GYN in Kansas City forces their patients seeking an abortion to drive to Kansas City. The court says that in an emergency, because of the far distance, the patient will have to go to the ER anyway -- thereby making the 24-hour, seven-day-a-week on-call position virtually pointless. The patient will have to drive to the Kansas City OB/GYN to receive the first medication -- and the court says driving distance alone doesn't equate to an undue burden.
The effect on the public interest: The court says they don't have enough evidence to show that the plan is completely lacking in benefits to women -- so therefore won't say it doesn't help the public interest.
In essence, the court denied Planned Parenthood's suit because they failed to provide evidence the measure didn't help and was an undue burden.
The Columbia Planned Parenthood Clinic will have to comply with all of the new regulations in order to perform any medication abortions.