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Missouri Congressman Lacy Clay. Photo: C-Span screenshot.

Congress hears testimony about abortion in Missouri

Missouri is back in the spotlight in the national debate over abortion.

During a congressional hearing in Washington last week, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland) said, “Big Brother has come to Missouri” and Libertarians have suddenly become “the champions of Big Brother,” Missourinet reported. St. Louis Congressman Lacy Clay, who sits on the U.S. House Oversight Committee, put together a panel to testify about “State Efforts to Undermine Access to Reproductive Health Care.”

“I am truly amazed that the Missouri Department of Health went along with efforts to shut down the (St. Louis Planned Parenthood) clinic, intimidate patients and threaten providers, and would allegedly and bizarrely track women’s menstrual periods on spreadsheets to determine if they had had an abortion,” he said.

North Carolina Republican Congresswoman Virginia Foxx disagreed. “There are many things we’ve heard that should make us shudder, but comparing killing a baby to removing wisdom teeth is absolutely beyond the pale,” she said

The Missouri Administrative Commission is considering the state’s decision in June to reject the license renewal of the St. Louis Planned Parenthood. In an October press release, Missouri Health and Senior Services Director Randall Williams said he did not order state regulators to create a spreadsheet to track the menstrual cycles of Planned Parenthood patients. Williams said the workers took it upon themselves to make a spreadsheet with legally-obtained information to determine if the St. Louis clinic was accurately reporting any failed abortions.

The commission is not expected to issue a ruling on the Planned Parenthood abortion license controversy until at least February. Meanwhile, the clinic is still providing abortion services. It also offers a wide range of other reproductive health care services that the state has said is not part of this particular licensing predicament.

Gov. Mike Parson said in a statement that, regardless of the number of Planned Parenthood facilities in Missouri, every step should be taken to ensure the protection, safety, and well-being of women’s health care.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice