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Hearing wraps up to determine whether Missouri’s lone abortion clinic will lose its license

by | Oct 31, 2019

By Dave Andrusko

Administrative Hearing Commissioner Sreenivasa Rao Dandamudi wrapped up a hearing Thursday to determine whether  the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services [DHSS] may revoke the license of Planned Parenthood’s St. Louis clinic, the state’s lone remaining abortion clinic. 

The hearing which went four days rather than the expected five, culminated in a fiery denunciation of the state health department by Kawanna Shannon, the director of surgical services for the abortion clinic.

“Shannon’s testimony wrapped up the public portion of Planned Parenthood’s fight to continue operating,” according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “After four days of testimony, attorneys in the case now will begin trading paperwork and issuing briefs in anticipation of a ruling sometime after Feb. 7.”

On Wednesday, prior to Shannon’s testimony, DHSS fired off an angry rebuttal of various news stories, denouncing  what it called “irresponsible reporting” which had led to “false claims.”

Far from violating patient privacy, DHSS said, its investigators discovered the existence of four women who were seriously injured by abortions at Planned Parenthood. Those including, according to Jim Salter of the AP (quoting  the testimony of Assistant Attorney General John Sauer), one woman who almost bled to death and another woman who had to undergo five abortion procedures over four days to complete the abortion.

As NRL News Today has reported, the clinic had failed to address a number of deficiencies found by the state during an annual inspection in the spring, “emphasizing concerns over its compliance and patient safety,” according to The Wall Street Journal’s Jennifer Calfas. 

 “Lawyers representing Planned Parenthood have argued the state ‘acted arbitrarily, capriciously, unreasonably, unlawfully, unconstitutionally, and in excess of its statutory and regulatory authority.’”

Calfas added

“In documents filed to the state commission, the attorney general’s office also argued against a constitutional right to abortion in the state. ‘The right to abortion is not deeply rooted in Missouri’s unique history and traditions,’ the response, signed by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, said.”

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