Missouri Gov. Mike Parson: Planned Parenthood’s ‘Apparent Disregard for the Law’ Is ‘Unprecedented’

Karrie Galloway, of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, speaks during a news conference at the Utah State Capitol Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in Salt Lake City. Abortion rights groups filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a new Utah law banning most abortions after 18 weeks of gestation, following through …
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson held a press conference Wednesday in which he addressed Planned Parenthood’s reported failure to comply with both health and regulatory requirements at its St. Louis abortion facility.

Parson said, as ABC17 News reported, Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit against the state Tuesday and launched a corresponding media campaign that focuses on the possibility that Missouri could no longer have an abortion clinic available in the state if the St. Louis facility is shut down.

The abortion vendor’s media campaign, however, is centered solely on the fact that a state could be left with no abortion clinic.

Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen fundraised off the possibility that abortion could become completely unavailable in Missouri.

“In 48 hours, Missouri could become the first state in the country without a health center to provide abortion,” Wen said in an email letter to supporters. “This is NOT a drill. We’re taking action to protect patients’ lives. Can we count on your support?”

Wen continued:

I became a doctor because I believe that health care — including abortion care — is a fundamental human right. Your race, gender, economic background, or zip code should NEVER dictate the kind of care you receive, or whether you receive care at all.

That’s the world we all believe in. What’s so infuriating about what is happening in Missouri is that in just three days, the entire population of that state will lose access to a safe, common medical procedure in their home state simply because of where they live. We haven’t seen a world like this since before 1973, when Roe v. Wade was decided. It’s politics at its very worst — and puts people’s lives in jeopardy.

Wen then directs supporters to a donation website.

Absent from the fundraising letter are any details of Planned Parenthood’s failure to comply with health department regulations, as reported by Parson.

During the press conference, the Republican governor provided a timeline of the events leading up to the lawsuit.

Parson noted “two key issues.”

“Planned Parenthood not following the law, and Planned Parenthood not protecting women’s health,” he said.

The governor explained the Planned Parenthood facility in St. Louis has known for a year that their annual license was due to expire on Friday, May 31.

The state health department conducted its annual inspection of the facility on March 11-13, Parson said, finding “numerous violations of state laws and regulations.”

On March 27, the state health department released a statement of deficiencies revolving around Planned Parenthood’s violations of the law and issues involving safe care for women.

As a result of a series of events that raised concern about the Planned Parenthood facility’s quality of care, patient safety, and compliance with state regulations, the state health department launched an investigation of the St. Louis clinic on April 3.

On April 11, the state health department requested to conduct interviews with seven abortionists at the facility, the governor said. However, an attorney from Planned Parenthood responded on April 16 by stating the facility was not obligated to make the abortionists available for interviews with state health officials.

Parson continued that an attorney from Planned Parenthood then told state health regulators on April 22 that the abortionists would now be represented by their own attorneys, and that the health department would have to contact them directly for interviews.

According to the governor, Planned Parenthood St. Louis submitted its license renewal application on May 16, the very last deadline for submission and one of which they were aware.

The governor said five of the seven abortionists refused to cooperate with interviews with health department regulators. Two agreed to comply on Tuesday, May 28.

“There are a number of serious health concerns that still exist at the Planned Parenthood St. Louis facility,” Parson said. “We should all agree that, regardless of the number of abortion facilities, every step should be taken to ensure that all laws are followed for the safety and well-being of women’s health care.”

Though Parson did not comment specifically on the current deficiencies at the St. Louis facility due to a pending investigation by the Missouri health department, CheckMyClinic.org, a website created by pro-life leader Abby Johnson, lists some of the multiple health violations for which the clinic has been cited in recent years, including expired medications; use of single dose injectable medications for more than one patient; no background checks on clinic employees; improper storage of medication; failure of staff to wear protective equipment to avoid contamination by bloodborne pathogens; and failure to properly sterilize instruments.

The governor added:

To be clear, the state has not taken any actions regarding Planned Parenthood’s license in St. Louis. This is an ongoing process and investigation. Planned Parenthood has until Friday to comply with state law in order to receive its renewal license. No one is receiving special treatment.

The concerns about the health safety and compliance issues at the Planned Parenthood St. Louis facility come just five days after Parson signed into law legislation that bans abortion at eight weeks of pregnancy and also declares the state to be a “sanctuary of life.”

“[Up] until ten days ago, the state had not received Planned Parenthood’s application for renewal, and for months during this process, Planned Parenthood has been reluctant to cooperate with health department officials, including withholding access to interviews of abortion doctors,” Parson continued. “These actions are unprecedented.”

Parson said Planned Parenthood has admitted that, on numerous occasions, their abortionists have violated state laws regarding informed consent of patients and pre-abortion pelvic examinations.

The governor also said there is “significant medical evidence” showing the St. Louis Planned Parenthood conducted at least three failed surgical abortions.

“All of these examples are unacceptable,” Parson said. “Planned Parenthood’s apparent disregard for the law, their failure to complete complication records, and the accuracy of medical records are all serious concerns that need to be addressed prior to any license renewal.”

Regarding Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit against Missouri, Parson said, “It would be reckless for any judge to grant a temporary restraining order before the state has taken action on a license renewal.”

“No judge should give special treatment to Planned Parenthood in this instance,” he added.


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