Friday is the judge-mandated deadline for Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services to decide whether to renew the abortion license of the sole remaining abortion clinic in the state. Just two days before the deadline, a defiant move by Planned Parenthood of St. Louis: It will no longer comply with a rule the health department handed down in late May that requires abortion providers to not only conduct a pelvic exam on a patient at the time of the procedure, but also at an initial consultation 72 hours before. "We are choosing to provide the best-quality, patient-centered care that we've always provided, and that includes doing things that are driven by science, by evidence, and by what's medically appropriate," clinic medical director Dr. David Eisenberg tells CBS News.
The reason for the backtracking? Eisenberg says after careful observation of those under his care, he now considers that first exam to be "assault." "Over the last few weeks, I have new evidence to say that 100% of the patients ... who've undergone this inappropriate, medically unnecessary, unethical pelvic exam have been harmed by that," he says. HuffPost speaks with one OB-GYN who said she was forced to perform the "invasive" exam on a patient who was terminating her pregnancy for a fetal anomaly. "It broke me as a physician to do this to her," the doctor posted online. Fox News reports Missouri chose not to renew the license as it investigated claims of botched abortions. If the clinic shuts down, Missouri would be the first US state without a functioning abortion clinic since 1974, the year after Roe vs. Wade. (Read more Planned Parenthood stories.)