Missouri governor appoints judge who fundraised for crisis pregnancy center to help decide Planned Parenthood's license
Planned Parenthood protesters (Shutterstock, Rena Schild)

On Monday, the Associated Press reported that Gov. Mike Parson (R-MO) has appointed former Macon County Associate Circuit Judge Philip Prewitt to the Administrative Hearing Commission, a state agency that oversees disputes between the state and organizations seeking licensure.

Prewitt, a former Republican candidate for office, once fundraised on Facebook for Ray of Hope Pregnancy Care Ministeries, a "crisis pregnancy center" that masquerades as a health care facility in order to trick women seeking abortions into listening to anti-abortion propaganda. In 2015, the Missouri Supreme Court reprimanded Prewitt for the post encouraging people to donate, saying that it violated judicial ethics rules.

Planned Parenthood is currently fighting with Missouri as the state Department of Health refuses to renew its license, which could make the state the first in decades to have zero abortion clinics operating in its borders. A judge recently forced the state to let it remain operating for now, but the case could eventually end up before the Administrative Hearing Commission.

In addition to this conflict, Missouri Republicans recently passed a bill banning all abortions past 8 weeks. That law is also pending litigation.