Published: Sun, June 23, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Missouri Backtracks on Double Pelvic Exams for Abortion Patients

Missouri Backtracks on Double Pelvic Exams for Abortion Patients

The state asked to interview seven doctors at the clinic, but only two complied.

Pro-life groups have been calling for the business' closure.

M'Evie Mead, director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Missouri.

Operation Rescue President Troy Newman said it is "in the public's interest to know who is harming women at the St. Louis Planned Parenthood and why this is being taken so seriously by the Missouri agency tasked with protecting the public".

The judge argued that Missouri can not legally do this, and must either renew or officially end services but can not simply let the license expire.

Health department officials have cited concerns at the clinic, including that three "failed abortions" required additional surgeries, and another led to life-threatening complications.

St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Michael Stelzer held a status conference on Friday after he ordered the state of Missouri to determine whether it would grant or deny Reproductive Health Services (RHS) Planned Parenthood's license after the facility was found in violation of multiple health and safety standards.

Officials in Missouri refused Friday to renew the license of a clinic in St. Louis, the last facility in the state that offers abortions.

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On Wednesday, CBS News broke the news that Planned Parenthood doctors would defy the "unethical" state regulation, which meant women seeking abortions were actually subjected to two pelvic exams: one at the time of the state-mandated "informed consent" meeting, and the other 72 hours later on the day they actually got an abortion.

Planned Parenthood is the nation's largest provider of abortions, performing over 300,000 abortions per year (about half the total number of abortions in the country per year).

The health department let the clinic's license lapse as of May 31, but a judge's order has kept it open and allowed abortions to continue.

Clinic leaders say the license fight is part of an effort by an anti-abortion administration to eliminate the procedure.

While the St. Louis Planned Parenthood is the last abortion facility in Missouri, there is a private surgical abortion facility near St. Louis, across the Mississippi River in Granite City, Illinois.

In a separate case, on June 14, St. Louis circuit court Judge David Dowd ruled that Missouri's legislature can not cut funding from the Planned Parenthood facility, after the facility argued that it not only provided abortions, but other health care services, according to a local Fox News affiliate.

Gov. Mike Parson has said issuing an injunction to keep the clinic open would be "reckless". The court case is not related to the new law, which bans most abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy. Along with Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio, Missouri passed a law this year restricting abortion significantly.

The bill planned for the 2020 general legislative session might have a triggering mechanism so that it would go into effect if the Supreme Court allows a similar law in another state.

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