By Cheryl Sullenger
Columbia, MO – The publicly funded Missouri University has finally made the decision to end its limited hospital privilege agreement with Planned Parenthood abortionist Colleen McNicholas that enabled her to conduct abortions at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Columbia.
But in order to avoid concerns over non-discrimination laws, (which may or may not be applicable), rather that directly terminate McNicholas’ privileges, MU has decided to end the “refer and follow” class of privileges that were granted to McNicholas and one other unrelated physician, effective December 1, 2015.
“I’m not sure why MU has to wait over two months to halt this bogus non-privilege arrangement, but we are just glad they are finally putting an end to this charade,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “Now its up to the Department of Health to revoke the Columbia Planned Parenthood’s abortion clinic license since it will no longer meet legal qualifications.”
Only McNicholas and one other physician had been granted “refer and follow” privileges at MU, which did not allow for the admission or treatment of patients but allowed only for medical information about hospitalized patients to be shared with those holding the so-called “privileges.”
Without proper hospital staff privileges, McNicholas will be unable to legally provide abortions in Columbia and the Planned Parenthood clinic should have its abortion facility license revoked.
MU has instructed McNicholas that she may apply for standard hospital privileges, but there is no guarantee she will qualify for them since she lives in St. Louis, 112 miles away from Columbia, where she works at the Planned Parenthood clinic there. The St. Louis Planned Parenthood is state’s only surgical abortion facility.
A member of the MU staff had improperly used public resources to recruit McNicholas to provide abortions at Planned Parenthood’s Columbia center, which has been unable to offer abortions since its last provider quit in 2012 and its facility license lapsed. That staff member also shepherded McNicholas through the process of obtaining the inadequate privileges with MU. Based on those privileges, which at least one MU document gave the false impression were full staff privileges, the Department of Health issued a new abortion facility license for the Columbia Planned Parenthood and McNicholas began prescribing abortion pills there in August, 2015.
“Planned Parenthood and one of their supporters inside MU really tried to pull a fast one in order to get abortion back in Columbia, but this time, they were caught,” said Newman. “This speaks to how low Planned Parenthood will stoop to make sure they can market abortions to vulnerable women.”
An investigation by a senate subcommittee led by Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, uncovered the fact that the participation by MU staff in helping McNicholas get the minimal privileges that the Department of Health used to justify relicensing the Columbia Planned Parenthood for abortions. That ongoing investigation was prompted by the release of videos by the Center for Medical Progress that showed Planned Parenthood engaged in profit-taking from the illegal sale of aborted baby remains.
MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin indicated that the decision to end the “refer and follow” privileges came as the result of public pressure. Operation Rescue and several Missouri pro-life groups urged supporters to contact the Chancellor and urge him to cut ties with Planned Parenthood and its abortionist.
“Through the course of our investigation, startling facts came to light, our committee dug deeper, and the public made their voices heard,” Schaefer told the St. Louis Review. “This joyous outcome is proof positive that these committee investigations matter and the result will have eternal significance.”
“When the public gets involved and holds public institutions accountable, it can make all the difference in the world,” said Newman, who also serves as a Board member for the Center for Medical Progress. “In this case, it will spare countless lives from a brutal death by abortion. We know for a fact that when abortion clinics close, babies are saved.”