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Missouri Moves to Regulate Baby Body Parts

A pro-life Missouri state Senator this week announced his plans to introduce a bill that would give the state more oversight of abortion facilities and their handling of aborted babies’ body parts.

Missouri Sen. Bob Onder said his bill, Senate Bill 644, is a response to state hearings held this summer to discern whether Planned Parenthood abortion facilities in Missouri sold aborted babies’ body parts illegally, according to Missourinet.

“I don’t believe [sufficient oversight] has been going on, in fact I know it hasn’t been going on according to the testimony that we heard from Department of Health Officials. We need to be assured that we know what’s happening with these fetal remains and that the law is not being broken in that area as well,” Onder told the news site.

The bill would require annual, unannounced inspections of abortion clinics and would ban the donation of aborted babies’ body parts. It also would require that abortion facilities send all of the tissue from abortions, including babies’ body parts, to a pathologist after the abortion, the report states. Current state law requires that only a sample of the tissue be sent.

Another requirement in the bill would be that the state Department of Health and Senior Services provide a detailed report about abortions to the Missouri General Assembly, according to the report.

The news report continues:

The report would include for each abortion the termination procedure used and a clinical estimation of gestational age; whether the Department received a report of the tissue remaining after that abortion and certification of its disposal; and an explanation of any inconsistencies between the physician’s abortion report to the Department and the pathologist’s submitted tissue report.

Another provision aims to clarify what privileges a doctor must have at a nearby hospital in order to perform abortions. Onder, a physician, says the privileges Dr. Colleen McNicholas had while performing abortions in Columbia wouldn’t help her protect a woman’s health.

“The privileges that McNicholas had were so-called ‘refer and follow privileges.’ All they gave her the right to do is to refer to the hospital. For that matter, you or I could refer to the hospital,” said Onder. “And then for her to look at the patient’s electronic medical records. That does not meet the letter or the spirit of the statute, and I really believe that the Department of Health and Senior Services broke the law when they issued the [ambulatory surgical center] license to the [Columbia Planned Parenthood facility].”

The University of Michigan voted to stop offering “refer and follow” privileges to McNicholas in September, in response to a state investigation prompted by undercover videos by the Center for Medical Progress, which showed Planned Parenthood abortionists harvesting and selling aborted babies’ body parts. The investigation revealed a relationship between Planned Parenthood and the university.

Because McNicholas lost her privileges, the Columbia Planned Parenthood abortion facility where she worked was set to lose its license on Dec. 2. However, U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey issued a temporary injunction on Nov. 30 that will allow the abortion clinic to stay open. The move came in response to a lawsuit that Planned Parenthood filed against the state Department of Health and Human Services, according to the Associated Press.

Onder’s bill also would address the issue of abortion clinic licensing in Missouri. The local news report provides more details:

It would prohibit the Department from issuing or renewing an ambulatory surgical center license to applicants who fail to meet the requirements of any applicable state or federal law, and specifies the Department will not waive that requirement as a condition of any litigation, settlement, or other agreement. The Senate committee heard from then DHSS Director Gail Vasterling that the Department agreed to issue a license to Planned Parenthood in Columbia because it was only providing abortions induced by medicine and not surgical abortions, so McNicholas’ “refer and follow” privileges would be sufficient.

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Without the Columbia location, Missouri would have one abortion clinic in the whole state, a Planned Parenthood facility in St. Louis.

In a related incident, another pro-life Missouri state legislator, Sen. Kurt Schaefer, recently received death threats related to his investigation of Planned Parenthood and its connection to the University of Missouri, LifeNews recently reported.