A Missouri Senate committee released a disturbing report on Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region (PPSLR) and its practices of disposing of fetal body parts from abortions. Ultimately, the Sanctity of Life committee says its investigation yielded as many questions as it answered.
Senate Leader Ron Richard (R-Joplin) said:
For the past year the Missouri Senate has been hard at work investigating the possible sale of fetal tissue in the Show-Me State. Thanks to the tenacious efforts by Committee Chairman Sen. Schaefer and the rest of the committee, today we have some answers, but it’s still unclear what their policy is for disposal of body parts, and we still don’t have confirmation on where those body parts go after leaving the pathologist’s office.
“The investigation, initiated by the release of the undercover videos that show top executives for Planned Parenthood in their own words, admitting their involvement in the grotesque business of trafficking human remains, points to St. Louis as a potential expansion site,” the Senate report notes.
Thus, the Missouri Senate created a special committee, chaired by Senator Kirk Schaeffer, to investigate. The report says, despite months of “stonewalling” by Planned Parenthood executives and also by top officials and Governor Nixon’s Department of Health and Senior Services, the Senate ultimately received the information necessary to perform its constitutional duty to examine matters of public health and safety.
The report looked at documents from Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, saying that what they found painted a “troubling picture.” But acquiring the information was a lot of trouble for the Senate Sanctity of Life Committee. Chair, Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), said:
Almost immediately after convening our committee, we were met with stonewalling, not only by Planned Parenthood but also by top officials in the Nixon administration at the Department of Health and Senior Services and were even forced to serve subpoenas to get answers. As we look at the troubling information our investigation has uncovered, we renew our determination to do all that is within our power to protect all life including women’s health in Missouri. We will also demand that these organizations change their procedures and allow greater transparency.
For starters, Planned Parenthood’s own internal files reveal a shocking callousness toward vulnerable young women who seek their services. In fact, the procedures outlined in the materials reviewed may very well constitute outright medical malpractice.
Serious gaps have also surfaced in the record of what has become of fetal tissue up from aborted babies at Planned Parenthood St. Louis clinic. It appears the Planned Parenthood may very well have violated both state statute and Department of Health regulations in their disposal practices.
The report goes on to say that Planned Parenthood’s own pathologist refused to testify and instead invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination:
While this has made it more difficult to find information, it has not obscured the fact that the waste disposal company responsible for disposing of medical waste from Dr. Miller’s pathology lab in St. Louis has been hit with fines by the state of Indiana for illegal disposal of human remains. Add to that reports that even the disposal company appears to have been misled as to the amount of fetal tissue they were receiving and it becomes clear that the senate’s investigation has raised many questions that have yet to be satisfactorily answered by Planned Parenthood.
The report summarizes the Missouri Senate’s investigation with several points.
I. Record on the sale of human fetal tissue — full of alarming gaps — shows that the contracts for the disposal of human fetal tissue were missing and incomplete.
The report notes that although the Missouri Attorney General’s Office had the same information as the Senate committee, it did not address any of these issues.
The report discusses a group of fetuses, ages 9 to 20 weeks, in which there were “no fetal parts identified” and says that the babies in question should have had identifiable parts. The committee questions the reason for this. One possibility, it says, is that maybe the pathologist never received the fetal parts to examine, and if he didn’t, then it raises questions about what Planned Parenthood may have done with them. Another possibility is that the pathologist may have falsified the reports or performed such a poor procedure that his report wouldn’t give an accurate picture of what happened. Finally, the report says another possibility could be that the parts were not actually extracted from the patient, which could have endangered the patient’s life. While the report only speculates, this is all the committee has to go on since there are few questions the abortion chain and its partners are willing to answer.
The report continues:
These unusual pathology report should’ve immediately sent up “red flags quote to the pathologist, Planned Parenthood and the Missouri Department of health. It appears, however, that no one at Planned Parenthood was alarmed – even though they received copies of these pathology reports. This inattention to detail demonstrates a startling level of recklessness by the medical staff at Planned Parenthood who should have immediately noticed this anomaly.
II. Planned Parenthood appears to be out of compliance with state law and its disposal of fetal remains
The report details that Planned Parenthood is not following the state statutes and regulations for disposing of human remains, noting the abortion chain is supposed to be delivering a “representative sample” of fetal tissue to a pathologist but instead delivers the entire fetus. And the report continues by saying that the attorney general’s report, and Planned Parenthood’s internal documents, say that the fetus is immersed in formalin, which makes it unusable for a tissue donation. But the Missouri Department of Health regulations says that it should not be “submerged in a preservative solution.” Questions like this have made it difficult to close the gaping holes. The report says:
Based on these discrepancies, it is possible that the entire fetus (in a dismembered form) is being delivered to the pathologist untreated with any kind of preservatives solution. This raises the question as to whether the pathologist or some other person may be receiving these remains in a form where they are available for sale.
Additionally, the report expresses concern regarding the use of digoxin in abortion procedures because it may violate the federal Born Alive Infants Protection Act. Digoxin kills the baby before delivery in second trimester abortions, but the report notes, “[I]n the videos taken of Planned Parenthood executives, they discuss deliberate efforts to avoid using this drug so as not to spoil the fetal tissue. Some of the same executives also specifically named St. Louis Planned Parenthood as a place to target for fetal sales.”
The report says that Planned Parenthood should discuss their use of digoxin or whether some “late term infants were not administered a lethal injection of digoxin, further ensuring that their fetal tissue (especially if not treated in formalin as discussed above) would be available for sale.
III. Internal documents reveal shocking indifference to women’s health, possibly constituting medical malpractice.
Finally, the report discusses a troubling disregard for the health and safety of women. Primarily, it says that “there appears to be a deliberate effort to discourage women from seeking treatment at a hospital emergency room, apparently as part of an attempt to keep any medical errors or complications within the four walls of Planned Parenthood. Based on this evidence, it would appear that greed or secrecy trumps the concern for women’s health at PPSLR.”
The report lists several examples of the abortion chain listing their own emergency number rather than 911 should an urgent situation arise:
All of this indicates that Planned Parenthood is far more worried about the reputation, business model and public relations efforts than they are about the women in their care. It is difficult to conceive of any other organization, let alone an organization that holds itself out as providing women’s health services, being so recklessly indifferent to the health of their patients as to put such directives as those listed above in print for the use of their employees.
Ultimately, the Missouri Senate report concludes that the entire investigation has “raised as many questions as it has answered.” It concludes:
At minimum, the findings of this investigation provide compelling evidence that Missouri’s laws on inspections, medical malpractice, transparency and whistleblower protections, as they relate to the abortion industry, need to be strengthened. This is a duty of the general assembly and one that bears further discussion as the beginning of the new legislative session approaches.
For now, taxpayers and legislators would like to have the answers to the questions raised by this troubling report. However, it appears Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region prefers silence over truth.