Missouri judge throws out state subpoenas in Planned Parenthood case

Missouri judge throws out state subpoenas in Planned Parenthood case
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A judge in St. Louis ruled Tuesday that four doctors who trained at Missouri's only abortion clinic will not have to testify in an ongoing case that will determine if the facility can continue providing abortions.

Circuit Court Judge Michael Stelzer ruled Tuesday that complying with the subpoenas to testify filed by the state would cause an undue burden for the doctors.

The doctors are independent physicians who performed abortions at the clinic but are not considered employees of Planned Parenthood, which operates the facility. 

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Planned Parenthood sued the state's health department after the agency refused to renew its abortion license without interviewing doctors who work at the clinic as part of an ongoing investigation into potential violations of state laws and regulations. 

The clinic's abortion license was set to expire last Friday at midnight, but Stelzer last week ruled that it could remain valid until a hearing Tuesday. 

That hearing, where Planned Parenthood will request a preliminary injunction, has been postponed until Wednesday. 

Planned Parenthood argues that such demands are illegal under the state's licensing laws. It also argues the state's investigation is politically motivated.  

If the clinic closes, Missouri would become the first state without an abortion clinic since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision.