Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services on Friday ended its practice of requiring abortion providers perform pelvic exams three days before providing the service.
Agency director Dr. Randall Williams told reporters he would issue an emergency rule to relieve the last Planned Parenthood in the state of the requirement.
“In looking at what they are doing and the fact that they think that causes a burden for patients to do (the pelvic exam) twice…as a clinician who practiced for 30 years, I’m sensitive to that,” Williams said.
Requiring pelvic exams has drawn major backlash nationally and been called “dehumanizing” by the clinic’s operator, Planned Parenthood clinic of St. Louis.
Missouri’s one Planned Parenthood is in the midst of a battle against the DHSS.
The agency declined to renew the clinic’s license Friday after being ordered to reach a decision by a judge.
The department cited patient safety concerns, including failed abortions, as its reasoning.
The St. Louis clinic will stay open, at least temporarily, however under a preliminary injunction issued by Judge Michael Stelzer last month.
Planned Parenthood sued the state in May for making the renewal of its abortion license conditional on interviews with the clinic’s doctors as part of an investigation. The healthcare provider said the doctors were residents, not employees of the clinic and could not be compelled to do interviews.