Editor's Note June 26, 2019: This piece has been updated to reflect developments in this story.
Missouri’s last abortion clinic lost its license on Friday for failing to meet “basic standards of care.”
According to the Christian Post, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services determined that the Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood in St. Louis would not have their license renewed.
In a letter issued to interim President of the Reproductive Health Services Cathy Williams, the Health Department outlines several “deficiencies” in the clinic’s standards of care, citing cases where patients were ill-informed or were at risk of injury or death because of the clinic’s policies and lack of emergency equipment.
The letter cites one case when a patient identified as “Patient #12” has “severe hemorrhaging.” The letter pushes back against that RHS’ insistence that Patient #12 received “high-quality care,” noting that if the hemorrhaging would have happened at the RHS facility, they would have been “completely unprepared.”
The letter continues saying, “RHS does not dispute that this potential for severe hemorrhaging was a serious possibility that presented grave threat to a patient[‘s] safety. And RHS provides no satisfactory explanation for the decision to disregard guidance from ACOG, which indicated that the procedure should have been performed at the hospital.”
The letter went on to note other deficiency such as failing to report failed abortions, failing to identify twin babies before performing an abortion, refusal to cooperate with the Health Department’s investigation and failure to issue new informed consent forms if a patient comes in to have an abortion following a failed abortion.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson released a statement on Friday backing the Health Department’s decision. Parson noted that “if Planned Parenthood can show it is abiding by the laws and regulations here in the State of Missouri, it has ever right, under the law, to have its license renewed and continue to provide patient services.”
Since it “failed to meet basic standards of care,” however, Parson stated that the facility should not be operating.
He said, “We should all agree that, regardless of the number of Planned Parenthood facilities in Missouri, every step should be taken to ensure the protection, safety, and well-being of women's healthcare. Planned Parenthood is losing its license because it failed to meet basic standards of care, placed multiple patients in life threatening situations, performed multiple failed abortions where patients remained pregnant, and intentionally impeded the state’s health investigation by not allowing health inspectors to talk to the abortion doctors.”
He added, “If you don’t comply with the law, there will be consequences. If you don’t provide a standard of care that ensures the safety of women, you shouldn’t be allowed to operate. It’s that simple.”
Update: A Missouri Circut Judge has issued an injunction that will allow the clinic to continue to operate through Friday, at the least. This will allow the facility more time to fight for their license.
Photo courtesy: Andrew Burton/Staff/Getty Images