Saturday, 01 June 2019

Judge Allows St. Louis Abortion Provider to Stay Open Until Next Week

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A judge has granted a St. Louis Planned Parenthood a brief stay of execution.

Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region will be allowed to continue operating until at least Tuesday, June 4 owing to a ruling issued by Missouri Circuit Court Judge Michael Stelzer on Friday. The abortion provider has sued the state in an attempt to remain open. Stelzer will hear arguments on the case on Tuesday.

Planned Parenthood refuses to comply with state-ordered interviews of physicians providing services at the facility. In the past decade, more than 70 patients having pregnancies terminated at the clinic have had complications necessitating calls to 911.

Stelzer wrote that Planned Parenthood “demonstrated that immediate and irreparable injury will result,” if Missouri refuses to renew the clinic’s license, which is currently under review by the state’s Department of Public Health and Senior Services. The judge added that a temporary restraining order “is necessary to preserve the status quo and prevent irreparable injury.”

Planned Parenthood CEO Leana Wen called the temporary restraining order a “victory.”

“This is a victory for women across Missouri, but this fight is far from over. We have seen just how vulnerable access to abortion care is in Missouri — and in the rest of the country,” Wen said.

But Stelzer was clear that his ruling was not about the merits of the issue. “A [temporary restraining order] does not purpose to pass upon the merits of a controversy or dispose of any issue,” the judge wrote.

The restraining order, temporary, angered pro-life groups. “Planned Parenthood caused this artificial crisis when they ignored the law and refused to comply with the State of Missouri’s very reasonable requests,” said Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life of America.

Planned Parenthood is hiding five of the seven abortionists, who have done their grisly work at the facility, from a state demand to interview them. Planned Parenthood will only agree to allow the two abortionists on staff to be interviewed, claiming it has “no control” over the other five, who are residents in training and not employed by Planned Parenthood.

But contract employees or not, the five other abortionists were indeed working for Planned Parenthood. If there are health and safety concerns for the pregnant women at a supposed medical facility and those physicians practiced there, the State of Missouri has every right to interview them for that reason alone. But it must not be overlooked that every “successful abortion” results in the death of the preborn baby.

Planned Parenthood claims that Missouri has “weaponized” the licensing process. In the past two years, Planned Parenthood has been forced to close abortion mills in suburban Kansas City and Columbia because they could not meet state licensing requirements. Proposed facilities in Joplin and Springfield have been scrapped, also due to inability to meet licensing requirements.

Despite having signed one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country earlier this month, Missouri’s governor Mike Parsons insists that the current licensing situation is not political.

“This is not an issue about the pro-life issue at all. This is about a standard of care for women in the State of Missouri,” Parsons said in a news conference earlier this week. “Whether it’s this clinic or any other clinic or any other hospital, they should have to meet the same standards.”

And isn’t that what pro-abortion activists are always saying? That access to abortion is a “women’s health issue”? Don’t state governments have a responsibility to maintain standards at abortion clinics with the same rigor that they maintain all other health clinics? Dr. Randall Williams, the director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services believes so.

“For the 4,000 entities we regulate, it is very common practice that we are allowed to talk to providers. Of the seven doctors who were involved in the care of patients that we have concerns about, three of them are trainees, but they are doing procedures in which there were outcomes that we have to by law investigate,” Williams told NPR on Thursday.

Those "outcomes" have yet to be made public, but there have been reports of "botched" abortions where patients find they are still pregnant after the procedure. There's also those 74 calls to 911 in the past decade.

And that’s the crux of the matter. Planned Parenthood cannot allow those contract doctors to be interviewed because they know what might be said. They can reasonably be certain that their own doctors won’t rat them out in any way, but those contract doctors are wild cards.

“They’ve always cooperated in the past,” Williams said. “We’ve interviewed their doctors for years. This year is the first time they’ve ever said that they wouldn’t be interviewed.”

Evil is at its best when it’s allowed to work in secret. That Planned Parenthood wishes to keep its practices hidden should tell everyone — pro-life or pro-choice — something about that organization.

Photo of Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis: AP Images

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