ST. LOUIS (CBS News/KMOV.com) — The last remaining abortion clinic in Missouri says it expects to be shut down this week, effectively ending legal abortion in the state.
In a statement to be released later Tuesday, Planned Parenthood said Missouri's health department is "refusing to renew" its annual license to provide abortion in the state. If the license is not renewed by May 31, Missouri would become the first state without a functioning abortion clinic since 1973 when Roe v. Wade was decided.
Planned Parenthood would still be able to provide non-abortion health services for women in Missouri.
Planned Parenthood said it plans to sue the state "in order to try to keep serving Missouri women."
"This is not a drill. This is not a warning. This is a real public health crisis," said Dr. Leana Wen, president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
In a conference call after the announcement was made, Wren said their lawsuit will ask for a restraining order to prevent the St. Louis clinic from being forced to stop offering abortions after the state license expires on Friday.
A call and email to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services were not immediately returned.
Representatives for Planned Parenthood told CBS News that the upcoming deadline follows weeks of back-and-forth with state health officials.
On May 20, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services notified Planned Parenthood of three issues that could impact license renewal, according to documents reviewed by CBS News and provided by Planned Parenthood.
On May 22, Planned Parenthood said it would address two of them: adjusting who at the clinic provided the state-mandated counseling and adding an additional pelvic exam for abortion patients.
But it said a third request was out of its control. According to Planned Parenthood, the health department said it was investigating "deficient practices," and needed to interview seven physicians who provide care at the clinic. Planned Parenthood said it could offer interviews only with two who are its employees. The remaining physicians provide services at the facility but aren't employed by Planned Parenthood and have not agreed to be interviewed.
In its letter, the Department of Health wrote that it could not "complete our investigation until it interviews the physicians involved in the care provided in the potential deficient practices," and that "the investigation needs to be completed and any deficiencies resolved before the expiration of [the clinic's] license on May 31, 2019."
Dr. Colleen McNicholas, a Planned Parenthood physician in St. Louis, said the agency hasn't shared details of the investigation or the potential concerns. She expected to be interviewed by the health agency Tuesday afternoon, an apparent compromise from the state, which had initially requested that interviews be conducted in a specific order with other physicians going first.
"We are 100 percent committed to the best care that we can provide for patients. So certainly if there is an issue with the care we're providing we want to know about it," she said. "We want to be able to address that. But we can't do that when we're being attacked."
In 2019, six states —— have passed laws banning virtually all abortions. In each case, the and face .
But now it appears Missouri would be losing its last clinic as a result of state regulations, not a new law.
Clinics that can't comply with the regulations may be forced to shut their doors, something that happened to several clinics in Missouri when the state began requiring pelvic exams for medical abortions, a method administered by pill, according to McNicholas.
Hope Clinic in Granite City, Illinois said they are still open and remain an option for Missourians to "get a safe, legal abortion."
The actions of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services against Planned Parenthood in St. Louis are nothing more than harassment and intimidation of the health care providers. This is not about improving the safety or health of its residents,” said the Executive Director of Hope Clinic for Women Dr. Erin King