Missouri’s threat to decline a license renewal may force the state’s only abortion clinic to shut down by the end of the week, Planned Parenthood officials said Tuesday.
The current license for the clinic in St. Louis expires Friday, Planned Parenthood said, adding that if it’s not renewed, Missouri would become the first state without a working abortion facility since the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973.
Leaders of the nonprofit organization said they have filed a lawsuit seeking a restraining order to prevent the state from closing the clinic.
State officials have not returned several messages seeking comment.
Planned Parenthood said it was informed by state officials that they’re investigating “a large number of possible deficiencies” and they requested interviews with seven physicians. Only two staff physicians agreed to the interviews, which are scheduled to be conducted later Tuesday.
Missouri is among a handful of states that have passed sweeping anti-abortion laws. Last week, Alabama approved a near-complete ban on abortions that calls for lengthy prison sentences for doctors who perform them.
The bill signed Friday by Missouri Gov. Mike Parsons is not quite as restrictive, but it would forbid abortions on or beyond the eighth week of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest.
The ACLU of Missouri said Tuesday it has submitted a referendum petition to the secretary of state’s office as a first step toward blocking and potentially repealing the law. If the petition is approved for circulation, the ACLU would need to gather more than 100,000 signatures to block the law from taking effect on Aug. 28 and force a referendum in 2020.