Last abortion center in Missouri can stay open, commission rules

Despite 70 ambulance calls to the facility since 2009, an administrator said, 'Planned Parenthood has demonstrated that it provides safe and legal abortion care.'
Tue Jun 2, 2020 - 2:56 pm EST
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Planned Parenthood in St. Louis, Missouri. / video screen grab

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ST. LOUIS, June 2, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Missouri administrators ruled Friday that a scandal-plagued Planned Parenthood facility in St. Louis may keep its doors open, ensuring the continued operation of the last abortion center in the state.

Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region has been fighting the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services over its annual license renewal, arguing that the state is trying to “intimidate” abortionists by making renewal contingent on interviewing them about patient complaints. On Friday, a state administrative commission ruled that the state health department should have renewed the facility’s license, NPR reported.

"Planned Parenthood has demonstrated that it provides safe and legal abortion care," administrative hearing commissioner Sreenivasa Rao Dandamudi wrote. "In over 4,000 abortions provided since 2018, the Department has only identified two causes to deny its license.” Dandamudi added that the center has "substantially complied with pertinent statutes and regulations,” and that the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services “has failed to raise an affirmative defense sufficient to justify this denial."

Missouri Right to Life has denounced the decision.

"In a challenging time when we are all concerned about protecting the health and safety of our families, friends, co-workers and communities, a single commissioner makes a ruling to allow the killing of innocent little lives by an uncaring abortion industry business," said Susan Klein, the group’s executive director. "Apparently protecting the health and safety of women and unborn children is not a priority for him or them."

The health officials who denied the renewal had wanted to interview five contract physicians regarding seven incidents flagged by inspectors, which Planned Parenthood opposed on the grounds that their answers could lead to criminal charges.

Last fall, Assistant Attorney General John Sauer described to Dandamudi several instances of failed abortions at the facility, NBC News reported. One of the cases entailed subjecting one woman to five separate procedures to complete an abortion, and another involved the abortionists failing to realize the woman seeking the abortion had twins. Planned Parenthood claimed to have already addressed those issues, but pro-lifers still had doubts.

“An ambulance has been called to this particular facility in St. Louis more than 70 times since 2009,” Susan B. Anthony List’s Mallory Quigley previously noted. All told, state health officials have given the Missouri Planned Parenthood facility 30 citations of medical malpractice, including complications in four surgical abortions.

An estimated 4,710 babies were aborted in Missouri in 2017, according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute. Some of those abortions were from out of state, meaning that the continued operation of this St. Louis facility also has ramifications for the fates of preborn babies in the surrounding states.

  abortion, missouri, missouri department of health and senior services, planned parenthood, reproductive health services of planned parenthood of the st. louis region, sreenivasa rao dandamudi

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