Missouri bill would require annual inspection of abortion clinic

By Dave Andrusko

Missouri State Rep. Kathy Swan

Missouri State Rep. Kathy Swan

The Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill this week that would require the Department of Health and Senior Services to conduct a yearly on-site inspection at the Planned Parenthood of St. Louis in the Central West End. Passed overwhelmingly 119-35, the Women’s Health Care Protection bill now goes to the state Senate for its consideration.

Missouri is one of 22 states that license abortion clinics as ambulatory surgical centers.

“By passing [State Rep. Kathy] Swan’s bill 119-35 Wednesday, the House sent one of about a dozen abortion-related bills into motion,” the pro-abortion St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. “And historic GOP majorities — 117-44-1 in the House and 25-9 in the Senate — mean Republicans could push for more.”

Swan and M’Evie Mead, state director of organizing for Planned Parenthood, had diametrically opposite interpretations of the same reporting data. According to reporter Alex Stuckey

Mead said seeing ambulances at the clinic means it was doing a good job.

“The fact that we get (patients) to the hospital quickly is a high standard of care,” Mead said. “There’s no way you’d want a health center to be adverse to calling an ambulance.”

But Swan believes those ambulance visits are a sign that things aren’t running smoothly. Based on ambulance visits, abortion opponents say there have been more than 25 medical emergencies there since 2009.

“We don’t have details of why the ambulances appear, but given the history I wouldn’t want to go to the facility,” Swan said. “An annual inspection would ensure proper protocols are being followed.”

Once an ambulatory surgical center is licensed, the Department of Health and Senior Services currently is required to inspect these centers “as it deems necessary.” According to department spokesman Ryan Hobart, Planned Parenthood of St. Louis was inspected in 2009, 2013 and 2014 after complaints. Mead insisted, “at no time was a patient at risk” and that all the problems had been addressed.