Missouri DHSS denies St. Louis Planned Parenthood's license renewal

3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago Friday, June 21 2019 Jun 21, 2019 Friday, June 21, 2019 2:59:00 PM CDT June 21, 2019 in News
By: Hannah Howard, KOMU 8 Reporter and The Associated Press
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ST. LOUIS - Today the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services denied Planned Parenthood of St. Louis its abortion license renewal request.

Missouri DHSS Director Randall Williams said the reasoning is because the clinic only corrected four of 30 deficiencies found during the clinic's March inspection. He said the goal is to practice a standard of care to keep individuals safe.

"Our north star is always the individual who is getting patient care," he said.

In an AP report, M’Evie Mead, director of Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri, said the health department’s concerns were addressed with “medically accurate and thorough responses.” She said Missouri is using the licensing process as a weapon aimed at halting abortions.

Randall noted three specific cases involving failed abortions and life threatening situations. He said healthcare is a lot like airlines.

"If a plane crashes, the FAA doesn't say, 'Well, you had 10,00 flights last year that went well, so sometimes these things happen.' No they don't do that. They go in very rigorously and find out exactly what happened to that crash to make sure there's not a systematic process that's going on that needs to be corrected," he said.

Randall also said problems arose when the three doctors involved in the failed cases would not talk. He said he is often asked why the department could not use other witnesses, and he said simply because no one else was there.

"We feel we have a duty to prevent future harm, to prevent future accidents or bad outcomes from happening again. To make sure that there's not something systematically going on," he said.

Randall said he is, however, issuing an emergency rule today that Planned Parenthood does not have to comply with the 72 hour pelvic exam policy.

"Planned Parenthood can defer the pelvic exam to the day of surgery if in their estimation, using their clinical judgement, they think there is a medical reason they should do that," he said.

Although the DHSS is not renewing Planned Parenthood's license, the court's previously issued preliminary injunction will remain in place and allow the clinic to continue performing abortions until a judge makes a final ruling.

Mead stressed after the hearing that the bottom line is that the clinic remains open.

“You can still come to Planned Parenthood today for all of your reproductive health care, and that is a good day for women,” Mead said in an AP report.

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