State investigation of Planned Parenthood in Missouri uncovers alarming practices
JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri, July 7, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — A yearlong investigation of Planned Parenthood by the State of Missouri yielded as many warning signs as it did answers about the abortion behemoth’s Missouri operations, prompting lawmakers to repeatedly charge the nation’s largest abortion provider with being callous toward women and conclude the U.S. Supreme Court got it wrong in last week’s Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision overturning Texas abortion regulations.
“The court’s opinion and our investigation came to two completely different conclusions,” state Sen. Kurt Schaefer said. “Our review shows that the callous treatment by the abortion industry of women requires state legislatures to offer more safeguards, not fewer.”
While no overt evidence of illegal fetal tissue sales was found, shady record-keeping, apparent intent to conceal facts, illegal use of chemicals during abortions, and Planned Parenthood encouraging women not to call 911 when they suffer botched abortions were discovered by the Senate Interim Sanctity of Life Committee.
The committee was formed in the wake of the Center for Medical Progress (CPM) videos surfacing last year showing Planned Parenthood trafficking in fetal remains from children aborted at its facilities.
Schaefer, the committee chair, said at a Tuesday press conference on the investigation results that the abortion giant’s practices “bordered on outright medical malpractice,” according to The Missouri Times, that would not have been allowed with any other organization.
“I think the thing this shows more than anything is there’s either incredibly sloppy records keeping or there’s an intentional obfuscation or an attempt to make it very difficult to find out what happens,” the Republican stated, citing major deficiencies in Planned Parenthood records, possible unlawfulness in its practices and procedures, and the inability or unwillingness of the abortion provider’s St. Louis center to provide specifics of its procedure for submitting fetal remains to Dr. James Miller of Pathology Services, Inc.
In four surgical pathology reports for abortions performed between 9-20 weeks, there was “no fetal tissue identifiable,” suggesting incomplete abortion, a potentially serious complication for the mother, but no record of any follow-up by Planned Parenthood, either on the status of the remains or with the women on their health.
Sen. Bob Onder, himself a surgeon, called these “red flags” that should have been investigated by Miller, Planned Parenthood, and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
“This inattention to detail demonstrates a startling level of recklessness by the medical staff at Planned Parenthood who should have immediately noticed this anomaly,” he said.
The Senate Committee also contends that Planned Parenthood uses digoxin, which can cause cardiac arrest, to get round the Born Alive Infant Protection Act should a child survive an abortion at its facilities. Additional concerns exist with its informed consent forms, as well as finding that Planned Parenthood protocols could “inhibit timely response by emergency medical services.”
Sen. Jeanie Riddle pointed to investigation results determining that Planned Parenthood discourages women from calling 911 in emergencies, saying it approaches medical malpractice.
“This level of callous disregard for the safety of women in our state is an apparent effort to protect their own business model from being damaged by news of a botched abortion and patients ending up in the ER,” she stated in an OzarksFirst.com report.
In some abortions Planned Parenthood performs, the committee alleges, it might not be giving the unborn child the drug necessary to stop the heart before the abortion, in violation of federal law, and underscoring the charge of its trafficking in fetal remains.
“In videos taken by key Planned Parenthood executives, they discuss deliberate efforts to avoid using this drug as to not spoil the fetal tissue,” Sen. David Sater said.
During the course of the investigation, the committee uncovered a dubious referral arrangement between the Columbia Planned Parenthood’s abortion provider Colleen McNicholas, who had not been able to qualify for state-mandated admitting privileges, and the University of Missouri hospital, resulting in the Planned Parenthood location losing its abortion license. A federal judge later allowed the Columbia Planned Parenthood to continue performing abortions.
The Senate Committee also had to threaten to hold Planned Parenthood of St. Louis President and CEO Mary Kogut in contempt of the Senate for her refusal to respond to a subpoena to testify in the investigation. An agreement was reached in April for Kogut to produce documents, many of which were cited in Tuesday’s investigation report.
While Democrats in the senate and pro-abortion groups said the investigation was politically motivated and its intent was an effort to undermine access to abortion, pro-life advocates said the "callous disregard" for patient safety on the part of Planned Parenthood uncovered by the investigation was nothing new.
“The Sanctity of Life Committee conducted outstanding work under difficult circumstances,” Operation Rescue Senior Vice President Cheryl Sullenger told LifeSiteNews. “They concluded that Planned Parenthood broke laws governing the disposal of aborted baby remains and instituted policies that prevent women from accessing speedy emergency care in order to keep negative news of ‘botched abortions’ out of the news.”
Operation Rescue President Troy Newman concurred. “The findings of the Sanctity of Life’s Committee make it clear that Planned Parenthood, with the assistance of the Attorney General’s office, Department of Health, and even the St. Louis Fire Department, is obscuring important facts from the committee and hiding the true extent of harm they are inflicting on women.
“The Committee has done outstanding work in bringing abuses at Planned Parenthood to light,” Newman continued, “and helping us understand that there is much more that is being hidden from the public.”
While it was not immediately clear after the announcement of the Senate Committee’s findings what further action would be taken by Missouri lawmakers, Missouri Right to Life plans to work with both chambers to craft laws that will guarantee prevention of human-remains trafficking.
The Senate Interim Sanctity of Life Committee’s investigation results did not settle the question of whether Planned Parenthood has been selling human body parts, the group’s Legislative Liaison Susan Klein said, but it did confirm the St. Louis abortion facility’s numerous infractions in handling fetal remains and failure to report properly.
“Women are at risk when they enter that facility,” she told LifeSiteNews.
“We want to ensure that baby body parts are not being sold by Planned Parenthood. And we don’t know that for sure. There is a need for further legislation.”
At a time when numerous states have begun investigations of Planned Parenthood as a result of its baby body parts trafficking scandal, the SCOTUS Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt decision ruling is regarded as a blow to pro-life efforts to protect the safety of women seeking abortion, with potential legislative repercussions across the United States and for the coming presidential election.
However, Klein said that while Texas abortion regulation laws have some similarity to Missouri’s, the high court’s ruling isn’t the end of the battle to ensure abortion providers operate within acceptable safety standards in the state.
Missouri Right to Life will work to oppose any move to soften regulations for the abortion industry, she continued, also expressing frustration over some apparent concerns by Democrats for protecting Planned Parenthood while the spotlight has been on the abortion giant for the last year.
“It’s so frustrating,” Klein stated. “We’re all supposed to follow the law.”