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Missouri Can Enforce Abortion Clinic Regulations, Federal Court Rules

Many people debate whether or not Roe vs. Wade will be overturned. Without a crystal ball, it's hard to tell. But truthfully, that may not be necessary. It may be possible to maim it to the point that it is effectively useless.

After a recent case in Missouri, it may still be legal to get an abortion, but good luck finding a low cost facility to get one.

Missouri Law Seemed Identical to Texas One SCOTUS Struck Down ...

The Missouri legislature passed a state law requiring physicians to have privileges at local hospitals and setting physical facility standards for abortion clinics licensed as ambulatory surgical centers. The effect of this would be to severely limit the number of low cost clinics providing abortions in the state.

Planned Parenthood of Missouri filed a lawsuit, declaring this unconstitutional. They felt pretty confident about this claim, since the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in 2016 that a similar law in Texas was illegal in the Hawley case. A federal district judge sided with Planned Parenthood, and barred enforcement of the law back in April 2017.

... Except for One Caveat

The Missouri legislature appealed to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, and emerged victorious this week. Though this comes as a surprise to many who see the law as identical to the Texas law that SCOTUS ruled unconstitutional, it should not surprise those that follow the 8th Circuit, known to be the fiercest foe of women's medical rights among the circuits.

The 8th Circuit stated that, unlike the Hawley case, the Missouri law does have a waiver clause, which allows for clinics to apply for variances in certain situations. However, no one will have standing to declare the waiver is unconstitutional until one is sought and refused. This is akin to a town waiting for an accident to happen before declaring an intersection unsafe. Except that in this case, if an abortion is not granted, the baby is coming, regardless of the court calendar and appeals process.

Abortion will continue to be a hot legal topic for years to come, and it will be important for everyone to stay current in knowing what is legal, and what is not. If you have questions about the abortion laws in your state, you may wish to speak with a qualified healthcare lawyer today. A skilled attorney will be able to explain the laws of your state and answer questions about the legality of abortion.

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