Judge Rules Planned Parenthood Abortionists Don’t Have to Testify About Women Injured in Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 4, 2019   |   4:28PM   |   Washington, DC

A Missouri judge has ruled that Planned Parenthood abortionists do not have to testify about the women they possibly injured in botched abortions.

The state of Missouri is trying to deny a medical license to the last remaining abortion center in the state that is run by Planned Parenthood. At issue is the fact that Planned Parenthood has injured at least 74 women in failed abortions and has received poor marks in state health and safety inspections.

The Missouri health department wanted to interview Planned Parenthood abortionists who used to work at the abortion business and injured women and failed abortions. The abortion chain asked the judge to stop that from happening and today the judge ruled in its favor.

The ruling is a possible sign that the judge will allow the Planned Parenthood abortion center to remain open even though it puts women’s health in jeopardy. As AP reports:

Circuit Judge Michael Stelzer on Tuesday agreed to throw out subpoenas for four doctors who worked briefly at the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis during their training. Stelzer’s ruling also set a hearing for Wednesday to consider Planned Parenthood’s request for a preliminary injunction to stop the state from forcing the abortion clinic to close.

Missouri’s health department declined to renew the clinic’s license to perform abortion procedures, which expired last week. The state cited concerns about patient safety and legal violations.

The judge on Friday issued a temporary restraining order to allow the clinic to continue to perform abortions, at least until a decision is made on the injunction request.

The current license for the abortion center expired on Friday and the abortion clinic has consistently injured women in botched abortions. In fact more than 70 women have been rushed to local hospitals after failed abortions at the Planned Parenthood Center.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson had said the abortion business should be closed. Parson outlined a number of serious concerns during the press conference, including reports of three failed abortions done by the Planned Parenthood facility.

A Columbia, Missouri Planned Parenthood facility already lost its state license.

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The facility in Columbia stopped doing abortions in October after it failed to comply with a state health regulation. Planned Parenthood appealed, but in february, U.S. District Judge Brian Wimes denied its request for a preliminary injunction.

The state requires that abortionists have hospital admitting privileges for patient emergencies and that abortion facilities meet the same basic health and safety standards as other ambulatory surgical centers. Planned Parenthood challenged the law, but Missouri won a victory when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit overturned an earlier ruling that blocked the state from enforcing the law.

Since then, the Columbia facility has had to stop doing abortions. In its appeal, it argued to Wimes that the admitting privileges law is an “undue burden” on women’s access to abortion, the AP reports.

Wimes disagreed. He said Planned Parenthood did not provide evidence of substantial burdens or show any attempts to comply with the hospital admitting privileges law, the Columbia Missourian reports.

“[T]he record does not provide a basis in evidence to approximate the number of women who will forego or postpone surgical abortion incidental to the inoperability of the Columbia Facility,” the judge wrote.

He also said increased drive times to abortion facilities are not a substantial enough burden to merit a preliminary injunction.

The abortion facility and the state have been fighting in court since 2015.

Williams, an experienced ob-gyn and director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, explained the importance of the health regulations to the court in 2018:

After surgical abortions, some complications will be immediate and will require emergency transfer to a hospital from the abortion facility for emergency care. Some complications, both immediate and delayed, will be life-threatening and require hospitalization and/or surgical procedures in a time-sensitive manner. Patient safety is most at risk at the time of complications. Having a physician who can follow the patient from the abortion facility to a nearby hospital where the physician has privileges and can provide the life-saving treatment commonly associated with the usual major complications or timely treatment of other complications is part of the responsibility a physician undertakes when he or she agrees to provide that patient’s elective care. …

When the physician performing the abortion has privileges at a nearby hospital, this provides continuity of care from that physician to whom the patient has entrusted her care, with whom she has an ongoing relationship, and who knows her best. The physician can accompany her to the hospital and be there for her with his or her expertise to immediately treat her complication.

In September, Missouri won a victory when the Eighth Circuit overturned a 2017 ruling that blocked the state from enforcing the law.

A Planned Parenthood facility in Kansas City, Missouri also lost its abortion clinic license last summer after struggling for months to find a new abortionist. Without one, the abortion facility was not able to complete its annual state inspection, a requirement for licensure.

Planned Parenthood also had plans to open abortion facilities in Joplin and Springfield, but it has not been able to meet licensing requirements at those locations either.