01:36 - Source: CNN
A timeline leading to Roe v. Wade
CNN —  

A Missouri judge granted a preliminary injunction in favor of the state’s last abortion clinic – temporarily preventing the state from becoming the first in the country with no access to legal abortion.

Judge Michael Stelzer’s ruling Monday allows the lone clinic – Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region – to keep performing abortions while a legal battle unfolds between the clinic and state health officials.

Last month, the clinic sued Gov. Michael Parson and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services over the state’s refusal to renew its license.

That license was supposed to expire on May 31. But the judge issued a temporary order preventing the license from expiring until he heard arguments from both sides.

The court order says that DHSS shall issue a decision on Planned Parenthood’s application for renewal of its license no later than June 21.

A status review will also be held on that date.

What’s happening in Missouri reflects a growing trend nationwide. States are imposing strict rules on clinics in the name of safety, while abortion rights advocates say officials are really trying to eliminate abortion.

The abortion debate in Missouri heated up after the governor signed House Bill 126 into law. The new legislation bans abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy, even in cases of rape and incest. It’s set to go into effect August 28.

Tensions further intensified after the St. Louis clinic sued Parson and DHSS over its license.

“Today’s decision is a clear victory for our patients – and for people across Missouri – but the threat to safe, legal abortion in the state of Missouri and beyond is far from over,” Dr. Leana Wen, the president & CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement.

“We are in a state of emergency for women’s health in America,” the statement said. “In Missouri, and across the country, Planned Parenthood will do whatever it takes to combat the extreme, dangerous, and unconstitutional efforts by politicians to ban access to health care including safe, legal abortion. We will never stop fighting for our patients.”

CNN’s Alexandra Field, Julia Jones and Sheena Jones contributed to this report.