Missouri: Planned Parenthood’s Claim of Period-Tracking Attempt to Distract from Failure to Report Botched Abortions

A rally at the last Planned Parenthood in Missouri. Credit: Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images
Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images

Planned Parenthood and its media allies have spread false claims that state health officials deviously tracked the menstrual cycles of women seeking abortions to distract from the fact the abortion business failed to comply with state regulations when it came to reporting botched abortions, says the Missouri health department.

Missouri’s Administrative Hearing Commission will determine whether the state’s sole abortion clinic in St. Louis will remain open. The hearing concluded this week with Planned Parenthood and its media allies claiming state health officials were engaged in tracking with “spreadsheets” the menstrual cycles of Planned Parenthood’s patients.

“Missouri Didn’t Track Planned Parenthood Patients’ to Protect Women; It Was to Control Them,” was the headline of an op-ed at the Washington Post.

At the Mary Sue, the headline, “Missouri’s State Health Director Has Been Tracking Women’s Menstrual Cycles,” was accompanied by a photo of two women in “handmaid” costumes.

“Missouri Official Admits to Tracking Women’s Periods,” read the headline at the Cut.

A press release at the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services (DHSS) said:

Irresponsible reporting has led to false claims that Dr. Randall Williams tracks the menstrual cycles of women seeking abortions at Planned Parenthood. The story was based on an erroneous email subject line that both staff and sworn testimony has acknowledged is not accurate.

DHSS continued:

Nothing in the Administrative Hearing Commission testimony that Dr. Williams [DHSS director] gave on Oct. 29, or in the Oct. 17 deposition, could in any way be cited to support this false claim that he ordered “spreadsheets” or any document to be created to do such. In fact, during Dr. Williams’ Oct.17 deposition, Planned Parenthood’s attorney Chuck Hatfield asked, “Do you recall making a request related to duplicate records which appear to be duplicate ITOPs [Induced Termination of Pregnancy] with last normal menses date?” Dr. Williams answered, “No, sir.” This “issue” was given very little attention at the hearing and has been falsely reported with the purpose of sensationalizing the hearing, drawing in readers and distracting from the truth.

Operation Rescue President Troy Newman said:

The Kansas City Star, which once received an award from Planned Parenthood for its reporting that favored abortion, and other national news agencies have jumped the shark with their blatant bias and propagand. They are trying smear Dr. Williams with the inference that he is some kind of pervert when all he is actually doing is trying to ensure women are safe and the laws of the State of Missouri are properly enforced.

DHSS explained the law requires abortionists to complete “an individual abortion report for each abortion performed or induced upon a woman,” and that one of the details required in the report is the last normal menses.

DHSS keeps the documentation, and the department reviews the reports when a complication resulting from an abortion is reported. DHSS stated:

In order to ensure that our laws and health care standards are being met, reports from abortion facilities, by law, must be reviewed. In this case, Planned Parenthood was not compliant with the complication report requirement for failed abortions. Regulators realized this, and as a result they used the tools they had to protect the health of those who seek abortions at Planned Parenthood.

Michael J. New, assistant professor of social research and political science at the Catholic University of America, wrote at National Review that “[p]erhaps unsurprisingly,” the claim by Planned Parenthood and its media allies is “exceptionally misleading.”

He explained that Missouri health officials noted the state had not been receiving complication reports for botched abortions, as the law required.

New continued:

To isolate such cases, a department investigator analyzed abortion reports filed by Planned Parenthood and identified 67 instances in which the same woman had multiple abortions during the same year. These data were then narrowed to identify a specific case in which a failed abortion was not reported by Planned Parenthood — a violation of state law.

At this point in time, Williams was notified. However, as New emphasized, the DHSS director “never possessed a spreadsheet of patient information, and no patient data were ever released.”

Yet, in a desperate attempt to keep an abortion clinic open – even one with reported inferior documentation – left-wing media outlets are misleading readers rather than reporting on a situation that could be detrimental to women’s health.

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said Planned Parenthood has a history of keeping “medical standards low and profits high by fighting commonsense regulations designed to protect women’s lives and health.”

“Rather than putting money into protecting women, they invest in lawyers, going to court again and again to block health and safety standards,” she added. “Missouri is an excellent example of Planned Parenthood’s anti-woman mindset.”

Among the health code violations and other issues of concern at the St. Louis Planned Parenthood that have been compiled is that the facility has had to hospitalize 80 women over the past ten years following botched abortions. Of these cases, 74 were confirmed medical emergencies.

In addition, SFLA reported the Planned Parenthood facility has “failed basic health inspections, with officials noting unsafe conditions,” and has refused to comply with Missouri’s state regulations.

Ironically, Planned Parenthood and its advocates are concerned about women’s privacy being violated by a record of the date of last menstruation for the purpose of maintaining health and safety laws, while former Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards appeared to be condoning a public Twitter campaign known as #PeriodsforPence, in which women were urged to tweet Vice President Mike Pence, the former governor of Indiana, detailed descriptions of their menstrual periods as a way of expressing their outrage at his pro-life policies.

Richards tweeted the link to a Daily Beast article that reported the Periods for Pence campaign:

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) said Friday he would not be investigating the state’s health department over Planned Parenthood’s claims of period-tracking. Missouri House Minority Leader Crystal Quade (D) called for an investigation, claiming the possibility of a violation of patient privacy, reported Fox4kc.com.

“The truth of the matter is there is no special spreadsheet of what the accusations are,” Parson said. “The information that’s been coming into the Department of Health has been going on since 1981 under state law and lawmakers that don’t know that should probably take a good look at the laws of the state of Missouri.”

A ruling on whether the Planned Parenthood facility’s license is renewed is expected in February.


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