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OPINION

Missouri’s Last Abortion Clinic Is Dangerous for Women

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Planned Parenthood is calling a judge’s decision to keep one of its abortion clinics open a “victory for women.” But with its cited health violations – not to mention the unborn baby girls it destroys – the clinic run by the nation’s largest abortion provider endangers women.

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On Friday, a St. Louis circuit judge issued a temporary restraining order to keep the doors of Missouri’s sole abortion clinic open. Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region faced closure after the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) condemned it for “deficient practices.”

While the DHSS had concerns following inspection in March, the AP also reported the DHSS visited Planned Parenthood in April due to a patient’s complaint. From there, the AP cited Planned Parenthood as saying the "investigation has identified a large number of potential deficient practices requiring explanation by the physicians directly involved in patient care, as well as the attending physicians."  

As a result, the DHSS refused to renew the clinic’s annual license unless all of its doctors agreed to interviews. Planned Parenthood offered interviews with two of its full-time employees. The other five –- residents in training – declined. That might be because, as one OB-GYN there worried, officials stressed she and her colleagues “could be opened up to criminal proceedings or board review.”

Missouri would have been – and still could be – the first state without an abortion clinic since 1974, the year after the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, the case which legalized abortion nationwide. With that in mind, Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen celebrated the judge’s move as a “victory for women across Missouri.”

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But was it?

On May 29, Republican Governor Mike Parson warned that the clinic’s “apparent disregard for the law, their failure to complete complication records, and the accuracy of medical records are all serious concerns” right now.

Among other things, the DHSS said in a press release that same day, there was "at least one incident in which patient safety was gravely compromised" as well as "failed surgical abortions in which patients remained pregnant," “quality control and communication with a contracted pathology lab,” and “failure to obtain informed consent." 

Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director who became pro-life after helping with an abortion, released a statement Friday regarding the news.

"The disconnect between Planned Parenthood's belief that providing abortions at all costs, even if that means ignoring health and safety measures, and the health of the patient is enormous,” she wrote. “Access is useless if Planned Parenthood facilities like the one in St. Louis are ignoring basic health regulations.”

According to Johnson, the clinic “is in danger of losing their license because of their own reluctance to address common sense regulations” and “Blaming their problem on access to abortion is intentionally turning away from the real issue.”

As a former Planned Parenthood leader, she would know. Today, Johnson leads pro-life group And Then There Were None which helps abortion workers leave their industry. She also runs CheckMyClinic, which tracks health violations of abortion clinics with state health records.

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For “Planned Parenthood – St Louis,” the site publicly shares reports for 2009, 2013, 2015, and 2016 from the DHSS. From those reports, Johnson’s site listed several health violations. First off, the site stressed, the clinic was dirty.

Dust covered “equipment and supplies all over this clinic” as well as the “bin with emergency supplies.” The “refrigerator had not been cleaned in over 1 1/2 years according to a staff member” who “had no idea who was responsible for that.” There was also failure to “properly sterilize instruments that are used from woman to woman.” 

The clinic was also in need of repair and new equipment. 

There were “Expired meds, IV fluids, and supplies” with “Some as old as 6 years.” There were “Tears in the exam tables” which “could not be cleaned to ensure that women were not exposed to infections.” 

Then there were safety measures.

The clinic failed to “send fetal tissue for pathology evaluation.” On top of that, medications were “not stored properly.” The “Medication refrigerator temperature was recorded as ‘out of range’ with no intervention or resolution for several days.” Before discharge, patients’ “vitals were not recorded every 15 minutes.”

There were also issues in record keeping. 

The staff members “did not log their abortions over 18 weeks gestation as required by law” and didn’t hand patients their Patient Bill of Rights. “Medication orders were not timed, dated or signed by the doctor,” and “Medications documented as administered by nurses had no dosage and were not timed, dated or signed by a nurse.” When oral sedation was given, “the name of the medication and who administered it was not recorded.”

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Regarding the St. Louis clinic, Johnson spoke from experience.

"When I worked at Planned Parenthood, we almost always knew when the state health inspector was coming so we could clean up and present a facility in compliance with the law,” she stressed. “If Planned Parenthood cared about their patients, they would clean up their clinics and be held to the same common sense medical regulations that other medical facilities must uphold."

Women don’t just deserve better from Planned Parenthood. They deserve better than Planned Parenthood.

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