Oct 29, 2019 |
Kansas City Star – The Missouri state health director, Dr. Randall Williams, testified at a state hearing this week that he kept a spreadsheet to track the menstrual periods of women who visited Planned Parenthood, an action that one lawmaker has called on the governor to investigate.
The spreadsheet, which was made at Williams’ request by the state’s main inspector, helped to identify patients who had undergone failed abortions.
The revelation came on the second day of an administrative commission hearing that will help decide whether Planned Parenthood can keep its license to perform abortions.
Williams testified that the investigation of Planned Parenthood began after state inspectors found evidence of a failed abortion that didn’t have a corresponding complication report logged with the state.
The spreadsheet, which was based on medical records the investigator had access to during the state’s annual inspection, also included medical identification numbers, dates of medical procedures and the gestational ages of fetuses.
The last column of the spreadsheet included the date of the last menstrual period of each patient calculated by the health department. The patient’s names were not included.
The investigation eventually found four patients that had to return to Planned Parenthood more than once to have a successful surgical abortion.
The failed abortions led the department to have “grave concerns” that caused it to withhold the St. Louis clinic’s license.
Williams, who was an expert witness for the state, was questioned by one of Planned Parenthood’s attorneys, Richard Muniz.
The spreadsheet was attached to an e-mail sent between health department employees with the title “Director’s Request,” and found through legal discovery. The subject line of the email was “Duplicate ITOPs with last normal menses date.” [ITOP stands for Induced Termination of Pregnancy]
The Missouri House minority leader has called on Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, to “immediately investigate” whether “patient privacy was compromised or laws broken” or whether Williams was a “a person who Missourians can be comfortable having in a position of public trust.”
“State law requires the health department director to be ‘of recognized character and integrity,’” state Rep. Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, said in a statement. “This unsettling behavior calls into question whether Doctor Williams meets that high standard.”
Shortly following the hearing, the head of the St. Louis Planned Parenthood said she found the spreadsheet “deeply disturbing.”
“This is government overreach at its worst,” Yamelsie Rodriguez, CEO of Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, said in a statement … Read more.