A state Senate investigation of Planned Parenthood has finished, but Senate Republicans aren’t saying whether they’ll pursue litigation or propose legislation.
The GOP-controlled Senate subpoenaed documents from Planned Parenthood in St. Louis about its handling of fetal tissue after abortions. The investigation found no evidence that tissue has been illegally sold, but Republicans including Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) said the clinic kept poor records and that raises red flags.
“It somehow appears to be acceptable in this regard to have ill-kept records, no information on pathology reports. So it makes it virtually impossible to determine what happens,” says Schaefer.
Senator David Sater (R-Cassville) suggests that the clinic might not be giving a drug to stop the fetus’s heart before performing an abortion, which would be a violation of federal law.
“In videos taken by key Planned Parenthood executives, they discuss deliberate efforts to avoid using this drug as to not spoil the fetal tissue,” says Sater.
Senator Jeanie Riddle (R-Mokane) says the investigation also determined that the organization discourages its patients from calling 911 in emergencies. She called that that borderline 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,” says Riddle.
Senator Jill Schupp (D-Creve Coeur) says the investigation was for publicity.
“Complications from abortions are so miniscule that there really hasn’t been a problem. I would need to look at the paperwork they’re talking about and also the instructions that are provided to individual patients,” says Schupp. “In light of the recent Supreme Court decision, I think this group is going full force to do what they can to undermine a decision that was made in support of women’s access to the full range of reproductive health services.”
Pamela Merritt with Pro-choice group Reproaction agrees with Schupp.
“It was unclear. There were a lot of rambling accusations but there’s no heat behind them at all. It had that tone of. ‘I’ve done this theater and now I’m done,’” says Merritt.
The senate interim committee that led the investigation was formed last summer following the release of several videos alleging Planned Parenthood illegally profited from the sale of fetal tissue.