On January 30th, sidewalk counselors with Coalition for Life witnessed an ambulance arriving for a patient at Planned Parenthood of St. Louis, Missouri. According to the pro-life group, this is at least the 30th such emergency since 2009. Operation Rescue reports that the incident “comes exactly one month after the last such incident that occurred on December 30, 2015.”
Because of the preponderance of ambulance calls to 911 from Planned Parenthood St. Louis, Operation Rescue sought information but had to file suit in 2014 against the St. Louis Fire Department “in order to compel them to comply with state and federal open records laws” regarding the 911 calls made from the Planned Parenthood facility. OR stated at the time that while they were provided 57 records, they “were so heavily redacted that even the dates of the incidents had been erased.”
Public access to 911 call records is important, says Operation Rescue, because records from other cities have “uncovered the abortion death of Lakisha Wilson in Cleveland” and exposed other facilities which “were engaged in practices that were in violations of patient care standards.” And a 911 call in Birmingham, Alabama, “led to an inspection that revealed 76 pages of deficiencies that eventually led to the closure of New Women All Women abortion facility.”
By withholding information regarding Planned Parenthood of St. Louis, the St. Louis Fire Department could be putting women at risk, as the facility has a history of health violations, including “violations of infection prevention protocols,” as recently as 2013, and is currently refusing to comply with a state Senate records subpoena:
The Missouri legislative Interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life, chaired by State Sen. Kurt Schaeffer, subpoenaed records (with identities of women redacted) from Planned Parenthood in order to understand why so many women are being injured there.
However, Mary Kogut, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, has refused to comply and is currently in contempt. The Missouri Senate is in the process of pursuing contempt charges in an attempt to persuade Kogut to comply with the legally-issued subpoena.
OR president Troy Newman believes “[t]he public deserves to know why so many women are experiencing life-threatening abortion complications at Planned Parenthood in St. Louis. The Fire Department needs to stop covering up for Planned Parenthood and comply with state open records laws.”
“Planned Parenthood should not be held above the law,” Newman stated. “When it is, women are the ones who pay the price.”