Planned Parenthood has filed suit against the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) while its application for renewal is still under review.
DHSS received Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region’s application for renewal on Thursday, May 16, 2019, which was the last day that it would be accepted by DHSS. The St. Louis, Missouri, facility’s license, which is renewed annually, is set to expire on May 31, 2019. Last year, the organization submitted its renewal application on April 27, 2018, with a May 31 renewal date.
Planned Parenthood’s statutorily required inspection occurred March 11-13, 2019, and an investigation has been ongoing since. Planned Parenthood was notified in early April that due to ongoing concerns about potential deficient practices, interviews would need to be done with the physicians providing that care. These concerns are not limited to, but include: 1) violations of Missouri law; 2) violations of applicable Missouri regulations; 3) standard care for patient safety as evidenced by, but not limited to, at least one incident in which patient safety was gravely compromised; 4) failed surgical abortions in which patients remained pregnant; 5) concerns about quality control and communication with a contracted pathology lab; and 6) failure to obtain informed consent.
The continued refusal of several physicians to cooperate in interviews regarding DHSS’s ongoing complaint investigation obstructs the State’s ability to verify that this facility is in compliance with all requirements of applicable statutes and regulations, which Missouri law requires DHSS to do before renewing a license.
Only on May 22 did Planned Parenthood change their previous position and agree to comply with Missouri regulations which require pelvic exams at the screening prior to abortions so that information learned from the pelvic exams could increase the safety of the procedure.
On May 28, only after filing their lawsuit did Planned Parenthood again change another previous position to comply with Missouri law that the same physician who does the preoperative counseling will also perform the abortion.
As of May 29, Planned Parenthood has still not agreed to full compliance.
“DHSS will continue to act in good faith to do our statutorily required duty to regulate facilities to help keep people safe and assure compliance with the law,” said Dr. Randall Williams, director of DHSS. “The unprecedented refusal by Planned Parenthood to fully cooperate as they have in the past heightens our regulators’ concerns about what their investigation has revealed to date.”