Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Missouri begins hearing
Missouri would become the first state since 1974 without a functioning abortion clinic if license revocation is allowed.
ST. LOUIS – Patient safety at Missouri’s only abortion clinic is the point of contention during a state administrative hearing that will decide whether the clinic can remain open.
Opening statements and testimony began Monday before a commissioner of the Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission. At stake is the state health department’s effort to revoke the license of the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis.
Assistant Attorney General John Sauer described four cases of “failed abortions,” including one where a woman had to undergo up to five procedures to complete the abortion, and another where the doctor did not recognize that a patient was pregnant with twins, which required a second procedure to remove the second fetus.
Planned Parenthood attorney Chuck Hatfield released a filing video of a health department official saying the clinic was not unsafe.
Hatfield says these four shortcomings are unique. They said that out of 3,000 women they were helping, the state looked at these specific cases, not at random. According to their argument, if there was a serious problem, they could have suspended the facility or limited the number of patients.
Commissioner Sreenivasa Rao Dandamudi chairs. A commission official said that in his role, Dandamudi “acts as an independent trial judge”. A decision is not expected until February at the earliest.
The hearing in an office building in downtown Saint-Louis is expected to last five days. Missouri officials have asked St. Louis police for increased security since the licensing issue sparked protests from both sides of the debate.
Missouri would become the first state since 1974, the year following the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, without a functioning abortion clinic if license revocation is allowed. The battle also comes as abortion rights supporters raise concerns that conservative-led states, including Missouri, are trying to end abortion through tough new laws and more regulation. strict.
Planned Parenthood has been fighting the Missouri Department of Health and Seniors Services for months to try to keep its St. Louis clinic open.
The people who are with Planned Parenthood made their presence known on Monday morning. They deployed two large banners in a parking lot in front of where the hearing is taking place.
One banner reads: “Abortion is health”, while the other says: “Shame on Governor Parson”.
The state said concerns arose from the inspections in March. Among the problems cited by health department investigators were three “failed abortions” requiring additional surgeries and one that led to life-threatening complications for the mother.
The health department sought to interview doctors involved in these abortions, including resident doctors who no longer work there. Planned Parenthood said it couldn’t force them to speak out and the state’s concerns had been addressed a long time ago. Lawyers for the health department wrote in legal documents to the commission that the doctors’ refusal to speak “presents the last critical hurdle.”
Missouri is one of several states to pass new abortion restrictions in hopes the increasingly conservative U.S. Supreme Court will eventually overthrow Roe v. Wade. Republican Gov. Mike Parson signed a law in May banning abortions at or after eight weeks’ gestation, with exceptions for medical emergencies, but not for rape or incest.
In August, a federal judge temporarily blocked implementation of the law until the legal challenge unfolds in court, which could take several months.
As the Missouri case unfolded, Planned Parenthood quietly built a new abortion clinic in Illinois, right across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. The 18,000-square-foot (1,700-square-meter) clinic in Fairview Heights, 12 miles east of St. Louis, opened Wednesday, in part to meet demand for abortions from residents of Missouri.
RELATED: Planned Parenthood Abortion Clinic Built in Secret Opens This Week in Fairview Heights
More and more women in Missouri are having abortions at the Hope Clinic for Women in Granite City, Illinois, another suburb of St. Louis. Deputy principal Alison Dreith said 58% of abortions performed at the Hope Clinic through August this year involved women in Missouri, compared to 37% of women in Illinois.
Another abortion clinic is located in Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City. The clinic is located 3 kilometers from the national line. Information from the state of Kansas shows that about 3,300 of the 7,000 abortions performed there last year involved residents of Missouri.