State money was illegally used to facilitate abortions in Columbia while missing pathology reports on abortions in St. Louis raise concerns a fetal tissue trafficking.
Senate Committe on Sanctity of Human Life
By Cheryl Sullenger
Columbia, MO – Missouri State Sen. Kurt Schaefer is not very happy with the State Department of Health and Senior Services, or the Missouri University, for that matter.
As Chairman of the Missouri Senate Interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life, Schaefer has been tasked with overseeing an investigation of Planned Parenthood in the wake of videos released by the Center for Medical Progress that showed evidence that at least some Planned Parenthood affiliates engage in the illegal selling of human fetal remains for profit and even unethically alter abortion procedures to ensure that more remains are suitable for sale to biotech companies.
Yesterday’s hearing continued a showdown between committee members, the DHHS, and Missouri University, which both make every effort to prevent the committee from obtaining important information about two Planned Parenthood facilities in St. Louis and Columbia.
But the drama began in earnest on August 13, 2014, when Schaefer squared off with Missouri’s DHSS Director Gail Vasterling over her department’s licensing of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Columbia. The license cleared the way for the Columbia facility to resume medication abortions on August 3, 2015, for the first time since 2012, when an abortionist quit and a replacement could not be found. Planned Parenthood has indicated it plans to resume surgical abortions at the Columbia clinic in early 2016.
Vasterling refused to answer questions about whether or not Planned Parenthood’s newly hired abortionist, Colleen McNicholas, an employee of Planned Parenthood in St. Louis, held hospital privileges in Columbia as required by law or even which hospital might be involved. She improperly claimed that information was not a matter of public record, citing a statute that had nothing to do with ambulatory surgical center license applications.
[Read Planned Parenthood’s ASC License Application; View the License issued to Planned Parenthood in Columbia, MO.]
“The idea that the Department is here today in light of the very clear and plain language of this statute, withholding information, not from this committee, but from the people of the state of Missouri, I find abhorrent, and it is very clear you are getting bad legal advice,” Schaefer told her.
Schaefer ordered Vasterling to appear again at a hearing on August 25 and answer questions about the Columbia facility’s licensing or be held in contempt.
Vasterling sent Schaefer a letter on August 21, 2015, admitting that an ambulatory surgical center license was issued to the Columbia Planned Parenthood facility even though it was not in full compliance with the law. Instead of maintaining the required hospital privileges in Columbia, McNicholas only had limited “refer and follow” privileges with MU Health Care which allows her to receive updates on a patient’s condition, but does not allow her to admit or care for patients.
Missouri law, 197.215 RSMo, states the physician performing medication and/or surgical procedures at an ambulatory surgical center must be licensed to perform procedures at a nearby hospital or the provider must have an agreement with that nearby hospital. Even though no surgical abortions are taking place yet, the issuance of an ambulatory surgical center license to the Columbia Planned Parenthood facility may not have been been proper because and appears to have violated the DHSS’s own regulations.
Of concern is the fact that incomplete abortions are common complications to medication abortions. According to National Abortion Federation statistics quoted at yesterday’s hearing, between two and ten percent of all medication abortions will require surgical intervention to stop hemorrhaging or to prevent infection from retained tissue.
“When an abortionist who does medication abortions has an incomplete abortion complication, the abortionist is supposed to be able to provide surgical removal of retained tissue. Without hospital privileges, abortionists are incapable of caring for women with incomplete abortions. This means they dump their patients on hospital emergency rooms, which are forced to clean up the abortionist’s messes,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “This is completely unacceptable and laws were passed in Missouri to protect women from this very situation. It is a dereliction of duty for a health department official to so blatantly ignore the law in order to enable abortions at Planned Parenthood.”
After receiving Vasterling’s letter admitting to the improper licensing of Planned Parenthood in Columbia, Schaefer responded, “I don’t know who is giving them legal advice on this, but it is bad advice.”
Schaefer also received a letter from R. Bowen Loftin, the Chancellor at the University of Missouri, stating that McNicholas indeed did not have admitting privileges at MU Health Care, but acknowledged that it does have a “refer and follow” agreement with McNicholas. Because Missouri University is a publicly funded institution, it is in violation of Missouri law for it to participate in any way with abortions.
“I want the university out of the abortion business,” Schaffer said.
Yesterday, despite the best efforts of Vasterling and another DHSS employee, John Langston, several pieces of information emerged in what is fast becoming another Planned Parenthood corruption scandal.
University of Missouri (MU) Assistant Teaching Professor, Kristin Metcalf-Wilson also worked at Planned Parenthood in Columbia as a nurse. Documents obtained by the committee revealed that Metcalf-Wilson recruited McNicholas to provide abortions at the Columbia facility using a University computer during working hours in violation of policy that states no University funds can be used in any way for abortions.
Metcalf-Wilson then shepherded McNichoas through the system at MU in order to obtain hospital privileges so that the Columbia clinic could qualify for licensing as an ambulatory surgical center abortion clinic.
But instead of obtaining the required hospital privileges, Metcalf-Wilson and others facilitated the issuance of “refer and follow” privileges only. This means that McNicholas has no right to admit or treat any patients at MU hospital, but she does have the ability to “refer” a patient there and obtain updates on her care.
Despite concerns that the DHSS may have issues with the refer and follow “bogus non-privileges,” as one Senator described them, this was submitted to the DHSS as privileges meant to satisfy the ambulatory surgical center license requirements.
When questioned about how the refer and follow arrangement clearly did not meet the requirements of the law, both Vasterling and Langston continued to insist that the abortion facility was properly licensed even though it was clear that it was not.
Schaefer rebuked Vasterling for her efforts to interpret laws meant to protect women in a manner that was contrary to the obvious wording and intent of the law.
“There is clearly a game going on here and that we’re all getting really, really tired of it,” he later said.
In another matter, the committee sought to discover what happens to the remains of babies aborted at Planned Parenthood in St. Louis.
It appeared that all remains from each abortion are sent to a pathology lab, which provides copies of its reports to Planned Parenthood and the DHSS. However, in 2013, Planned Parenthood was cited because the pathology lab failed to provide reports for several abortions. This raised questions about what happened to those remains and why no reports were filed as required. It also raised suspicions that perhaps some fetal remains were being illegally sold.
In order to ascertain whether any body parts trafficking has occurred in Missouri, the committee asked for the name of the pathologist that received the abortion remains.
At first, Vasterling and Langston stonewalled the committee, going to great lengths to keep that information from the committee. Schaefer demanded that they supply the name before the end of the hearing.
Finally, a third DHSS employee offered that Pathology Services, Inc. was the company receiving the human remains from Planned Parenthood’s abortions. The committee indicated that they will call the manager of that company to testify at a later date.
The hearing resumed yesterday afternoon after a break and heard MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, who was perhaps slightly more cooperative than Vasterling and Langston.
Chancellor Loftin testified that McNicholas’ refer and follow privileges do not allow her to “touch a patient” or admit any one. She can only visit the hospital and have access to treatment information. This confirmed that McNicholas’ bogus “hospital privileges” were nothing of the sort and that they had been improperly used to license the Planned Parenthood in Columbia for abortions. However, Loftin indicated that revoking the refer and follow agreement would require a lengthy process due to attorney’s concerns that revocation might qualify as “discrimination.”
Schaefer produced a three-inch stack of e-mails that traced MU involvement in “facilitating” abortions at Planned Parenthood.
“These e-mails clearly show that a University employee on a University computer on University time recruited a doctor to come to Columbia to specifically perform abortions, and then initiated the process with at least three other University employees on University computers on University time to make sure her credentials, which were necessary for the clinic licnese to be issued, made their way all the way through,” Schaefer said. “It appears to me that the University is in the abortion business.”
The Columbia site is operated by Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, which is no stranger to controversy. In 2007, Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline filed 107 criminal charges against the Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Overland Park, Kansas – including 23 felony counts – all related to the commission of illegal late-term abortions and manufacturing evidence to cover up their crimes. Unfortunately, those charges were eventually dismissed in 2012 after it became known that the evidence against Planned Parenthood in the custody of then-Attorney General Steven Six had been illegally destroyed by an unknown person in the AG’s office. No one was ever held accountable for the evidence destruction. The merits of Kline’s case were never heard.
“The fact that Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri would play fast and loose with the law is really a matter of habit for them,” said Newman. “This Planned Parenthood group has gotten away with breaking the law over and over again. Hopefully, Missouri will help them break that bad habit and shut down abortion operations in Columbia for good.”
The committee is expected to resume in the following days and will question additional DHSS employees and others in an attempt to get to the bottom of apparent abortion corruption in Missouri.