As the spotlight shines on news of California Attorney General and U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris’s significant connections to Planned Parenthood (calling into question the legitimacy of her Justice Department’s raid on Center for Medical Progress founder David Daleiden’s residence this week), a judge who is keeping a Planned Parenthood open in Missouri against the wishes of the state’s Department of Health has also been found to have a relationship with the abortion giant.
Operation Rescue reports that abortionist Colleen McNicholas was working at Planned Parenthood in Columbia, Missouri, and dispensing abortion pills. However, it was later discovered that McNicholas held “bogus ‘refer and follow’ [admitting] privileges” which were “deceptively passed off as full staff privileges to the Department of Health, which issued the Columbia Planned Parenthood an abortion license for which it was never qualified.” Admitting privileges are required for licensing of an abortion facility. Upon this discovery, the Department of Health “initiate[d] revocation proceeding against Planned Parenthood’s abortion facility license.” But, as simply following the law seems to be a struggle for Planned Parenthood in general, the abortion giant sued. Operation Rescue’s Cheryl Sullenger writes:
Judge Laughrey has allowed until June 30 for Planned Parenthood to locate another abortionist that complies with the legal requirement to maintain proper hospital privileges within 30 miles of the facility, but that might not be easy.
Most reputable physicians want nothing to do with abortion. The two abortionists currently affiliated with Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, Orrin Moore and Ronald Yeomans, are not qualified for hospital privileges in Columbia.
Currently, no abortions are taking place at the Columbia Planned Parenthood facility. To replace the lost revenue, the organization that operates it, Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, started selling abortion drugs last month at its facility in Wichita, Kansas.
Federal Court Judge Nanette Laughrey is now, according to Operation Rescue, “being called on to recuse from the controversial case after pro-life activists photographed her husband, lobbyist Chris Kelly, entering that same facility on March 10, 2016.”
Kelly is not just any lobbyist. He’s “a recently retired Democratic State Representative from Columbia who established a new consulting firm in January 2016, and registered as a lobbyist with the Missouri Ethics Commission.”
Pro-lifers photographed Laughrey’s husband entering the same Columbia Planned Parenthood facility that she decided to keep open, despite the fact that it is in violation of state law. When Kelly realized he was being photographed, he left via the back entrance. Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman noted the appearance of a conflict of interest:
Kelly’s meeting at Planned Parenthood raises serious questions about his relationship with the abortion organization. This casts an appearance of impropriety on Laughrey’s dubious decision to allow Planned Parenthood to maintain an abortion license that it obtained through questionable means.
We call on Judge Laughrey to recuse from the case due to her husband’s apparent involvement with Planned Parenthood.
OR also notes that this isn’t the first time Laughrey’s impartiality has been called into question:
When Kelly served as a state representative, there were public concerns of undue influence in other cases before Laughrey in which Kelly had some involvement, but Laughrey always refused to recuse.
Oral arguments in the Columbia Planned Parenthood case are set to begin April 28. To avoid any appearance of impropriety, OR suggests that Laughrey should recuse herself before then.