Activists Attack Pro-Life Senator Who Received Death Threats for Investigating Planned Parenthood

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Apr 14, 2016   |   3:34PM   |   Jefferson City, MO

Abortion activists are resorting to increasingly dishonest tactics to attack Missouri Senators who are investigating Planned Parenthood.

Last year, a state Senate committee lead by Sen. Kurt Schaefer subpoenaed Planned Parenthood CEO Mary Kogut and files related to the abortion group’s handling of aborted babies’ body parts. When Kogut did not comply with the subpoena, the committee passed a resolution to pursue contempt proceedings against her, LifeNews reported. She could face jail time and fines.

Now, abortion activists are trying to turn Kogut into a martyr by claiming that she is just trying to protect abortion patients’ privacy.

An inflammatory article on the Daily Banter this week claimed “Missouri Republicans Want a List of Names of Women Who’ve Had Abortions” and called the pro-life Republicans Nazis.

A slightly less overblown editorial by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Sunday also accused the Republican Senators of trying to force abortion groups to hand over patients’ private medical records.

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But the accusations are not true.

In an article Wednesday in the same newspaper, Schaefer responded:

Republican Sen. Kurt Schaefer, who is running for attorney general, said the Senate is only interested in the processes used in the disposal of fetal remains.

“The misinformation campaign has been unbelievable,” Schaefer said. “The Senate is not seeking any personally identifiable medical records.”

According to the Associated Press, the requested documents also include abortion incidents that required an ambulance and written protocols for performing abortions.

On Tuesday, a spokesman for Schaefer’s election campaign elaborated on the attacks an interview with the Missouri Times:

“The attacks being leveled by Planned Parenthood and others on the left are nothing short of dishonest,” said spokesman Scott Dieckhaus. “Senator Schaefer has led the effort to seek the truth as to how Planned Parenthood is disposing of aborted fetuses and has never requested the medical information of any of its patients. Members of the General Assembly have been waiting on an answer to their question since November, and Planned Parenthood refuses to cooperate. 

“Since that time, an investigation in Indiana into Medassure has shown that aborted fetuses from Planned Parenthood were disposed of illegally, and there are inconsistencies in what was uncovered in Indiana when compared to the testimony the General Assembly heard in Missouri back in the fall.

“If the budget in Missouri passes as it currently stands, no funding has been cut from women’s health services,” Dieckhaus continued. “The only change that has been made is that the 13 Planned Parenthood facilities will no longer receive tax dollars, but the over 580 other providers in Missouri will; those providers offer the same services Planned Parenthood does, plus additional services like mammograms and other life-saving cancer screenings – just not abortions.”

In November, LifeNews reported that Schaefer’s office received a death threat, which he believes was linked to his leadership of the Planned Parenthood investigation.

According to the St. Louis Dispatch, last week, a state Senate committee passed a resolution to pursue contempt proceedings against Mary Kogut, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri. They also passed a resolution to hold in contempt James Miller, the owner of a Pathology Services of St. Louis, which Planned Parenthood hired to analyze fetal tissue from each abortion, the report states.

Both Kogut and Miller failed to comply with a subpoena from a state Senate committee in November. The committee is investigating Planned Parenthood after a series of undercover videos exposed its trafficking of aborted babies’ body parts, LifeNews reported.

The local news reports more on the investigation:

Senators sought from Planned Parenthood six years worth of documents pertaining to fetal tissue and other information about Planned Parenthood operations. Miller was supposed to testify before the interim Senate Sanctity of Life Committee in December but didn’t.

On Dec. 23, after the two hadn’t complied with the subpoena, state Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia and committee chairman, recommended that the Senate interim committee move forward with contempt proceedings against Miller and Kogut.

If the full Senate approves the resolutions, Kogut and Miller could be forced to appear before the full Senate to explain themselves.

Chuck Hatfield, attorney for Planned Parenthood, says the organization already has explained itself. He said the Senate hasn’t listened.

After the initial subpoena in November, Hatfield’s firm sent a letter on Dec. 4 to [Senate President Pro Tem Ron] Richard outlining the group’s objections. The letter said that the subpoena was overly broad, onerous and would violate patient privacy laws.

“We heard nothing from them — no phone call, no letter,” Hatfield said. “Instead, on Dec. 23, they issued a report initiating contempt proceedings.”

Attorneys for the state, however, said the abortion group can provide the information without personally identifiable patient information.

Spokespeople for Planned Parenthood insist that they are complying with all state laws regulating abortion clinics.  Yet the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has failed to inspect the Planned Parenthood clinic in eight of the last 16 years, as required by the code of state regulations.