A St. Louis Planned Parenthood put women’s lives at risk and subjected one woman to as many as five procedures to complete her abortion, state officials told a health commissioner Monday in a hearing to determine whether the abortion facility will lose its license.
The court battle has drawn national attention because the Planned Parenthood is the only abortion facility left in the state. Earlier this year, state health inspectors found a long list of health and safety violations at the facility, and the state moved to revoke its license. Planned Parenthood sued, and a judge temporarily blocked the state from taking action.
On Monday, the hearing began in front of Commissioner Sreenivasa Rao Dandamudi of the Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission, the AP reports. It is expected to last all week.
State Assistant Attorney General John Sauer described some of the most alarming findings, including three failed abortions, according to the report. He said one woman had to go back approximately five times for procedures to complete the abortion, and another woman had to have a second abortion because the abortionist did not realize she was pregnant with twins.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Dr. Randall Williams of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services also said women’s lives were at risk as a result of “multiple life-threatening abortions” at the facility.
Lawyers for Planned Parenthood, however, contended that the safety concerns are overblown, and state pro-life political leaders just want to shut them down.
Planned Parenthood attorney Chuck Hatfield said the state should not have moved to revoke the abortion facility’s license, and the abortion facility has addressed the safety problems.
He also accused the health department of moving “the goal line” after the inspection, and argued that the law does not require an abortion facility to pass inspection to keep its license, according to the report.
Here’s more from the AP:
The health department has sought to interview physicians involved in those [life-threatening] abortions, including medical residents who no longer work there. Planned Parenthood has said it can’t force them to talk and that the state’s concerns were addressed long ago. Attorneys for the health department wrote in legal filings to the commission that physicians’ refusal to talk “presents the final, critical obstacle.”
Another expert who testified Monday was Dr. Donna Harrison, executive director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. She described multiple problems based on the health inspection findings, including inadequate sedation for a patient undergoing a surgical abortion and failure to adequately inform a woman of the risks of an abortion, the Post Dispatch reports.
According to NBC, problems found during the March inspection included “at least one incident in which patient safety was gravely compromised,” “failed surgical abortions in which women remained pregnant” and failure to obtain “informed consent.”
Pro-life advocates have documented at least 72 occasions when ambulances were called to the abortion facility for women with abortion complications. Williams said previously they found 30 deficiencies at the abortion facility, and Planned Parenthood only provided a plan to correct four, ABC News reports.
Missouri could become the first abortion-free state if the St. Louis facility closes. However, Planned Parenthood recently opened a huge new abortion facility just across the border from Missouri in Illinois, after building it in secret for a year.
LifeNews has extensively chronicled the litany of health problems at the St. Louis Planned Parenthood: