Statement of Dr. Colleen McNicholas, OB-GYN, Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region:
“Today, Gov. Parson reverted back to the age-old ways of anti-abortion politicians who distort facts, grasp at straws, and fearmonger in order to ban abortion. This is a classic case of politicians working hand in hand with their appointees to insert personal beliefs into public health policy. This is dangerous and is now threatening to shutter abortion services at the last health center that provides them.
“Let’s be clear: abortion is one of the safest medical procedures you can have. The doctors at Planned Parenthood are experts in abortion care, and stand ready to defend the quality of care we provide.
“In an effort to eliminate access to legal abortion in the state, Gov. Parson attempted to defend new and medically unnecessary requirements intended to deter women from seeking abortion. For example, officials are forcing doctors to provide medically unnecessary, invasive pelvic exams days prior to a procedure as a condition of the counseling process. To be clear: physicians at Planned Parenthood have been asked to choose between eliminating all access to women seeking abortion or to conduct invasive pelvic exams that for some women will be harmful to their well being.
“Gov. Parson and his health department continue to move the goal post on compliance issues and then threaten Planned Parenthood’s license. Planned Parenthood has been responsive to every demand, including those that interfere with high quality medical care, yet the governor continues to insist that our license is in jeopardy.
“Planned Parenthood puts a patient’s safety and well-being above all else. We have never wavered in our relentless effort to protect access to safe, legal abortion and we won’t stop now.”
Statement from Dr. Leana Wen, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“Missouri Gov. Parson’s remarks today are simply not based on medicine, facts, or reality. He has made it clear that his goal is to ban abortion care in the state of Missouri, and today's comments confirmed that this is exactly what this is all about.
“Planned Parenthood takes the health and safety of our patients seriously — and it is our top concern. We do everything to ensure our patients get the best medical care available. When we find anything that does not meet our high standards of care, we take swift action. Our health center meets the highest standard of care.
“For over 100 years, Planned Parenthood’s health centers across the country have been unequivocally committed to patient health, safety, and access. Our health center in St. Louis has been licensed by the state for years and our staff has cooperated with every step of this and all other accreditation processes.
“For over a decade, the State of Missouri has enacted arbitrary regulation upon regulation that have no basis in medicine. These include: forced 72-hour waiting period for patients; mandating hallways to be a certain width; and even requiring medically unnecessary, invasive pelvic exams. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, limiting access to care by imposing medically unnecessary regulations hurts women by causing delays and hindering the quality of care delivered.
“While other health centers in Missouri have stopped providing abortion care, Planned Parenthood has complied with these onerous regulations year after year in order to continue serving our patients.
“This year, the State of Missouri has once again moved the goalpost and imposed additional, arbitrary requirements. Our health center has once again complied with all of them—but not content after signing one of the nation’s most dangerous and extreme abortion bans that has no exceptions for rape or incest and that puts doctors in jail for up to 15 years for providing essential medical care, Gov. Parson is now weaponizing the inspections process and putting women’s lives at risk. That’s because his true intention is to ban all safe, legal abortion in Missouri and turn back the clock to before Roe v. Wade.
“When politicians interfere in medicine for political gain, the public loses trust in our health audit processes and public safety is eroded. Politicians simply should not be practicing medicine. Governor, leave that to the medical professionals.”