Hearing Held on the Licensure of Missouri's Last Abortion Clinic

Gavel

This week, the state Administrative Hearing Commission heard testimony on the license dispute between Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). At issue is whether DHSS can revoke the license of the Planned Parenthood clinic after a series of failed abortions.

In his opening statement on Monday, Assistant Attorney General John Sauer outlined three of the four cases at issue in the DHSS review. In one instance, a woman had to go through five procedures over four days to complete an abortion. In another, a woman nearly bled out as a result of an abortion at the St. Louis clinic. In the third case, a woman who had an abortion had to return for a second procedure because the doctor did not realize she was pregnant with twins. 

A DHSS inspection revealed that Planned Parenthood had not filed a complication report for the woman who had to undergo five procedures, as was required by law. This request led DHSS to discover the other cases at issue. 

As part of its investigation, DHSS investigators used data that Planned Parenthood collects and reports as part of its legal reporting requirement and in order to determine the gestational age of the unborn child, including the date of the patient's LMP (last menstrual period). This led to reports that Dr. Randall Williams, Director of DHSS, had compiled a spreadsheet tracking the menstrual cycles of Planned Parenthood patients. On Wednesday night, DHSS issued a statement in response to these assertions calling these "false claims" and stating that Dr. Williams "did not possess a spreadsheet of patient information." The full statement can be found on the DHSS websiteAdvocates for Planned Parenthood have tried to use these false allegations to undermine the credibility of the Department and Dr. Williams.

A decision in the licensing dispute isn't expected until February at the earliest. If Planned Parenthood's license is denied, Missouri would become the first state without any abortion providers since Roe v. Wade was decided.

October 31, 2019 - 3:52pm
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