Director of the Missouri Department of Health & Services vows to enforce law requiring abortion clinics to report injuries to women

By Dave Andrusko

Randall W. Williams, MD, FACOG

Randall W. Williams, MD, FACOG

Every time (which is not often) when the truth about abortion clinics comes out, the news ought to remind us that even if there are laws on the books, unless the proper authorities enforce them, the abortion industry goes about its grisly business unmonitored.

Thus the greatly encouraging news last week from Randall W. Williams, MD, FACOG, who was appointed by Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens in February to be the new Director of the Missouri Department of Health & Services.

Dr. Williams, a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist who practiced for 30 years, issued a news release in which he said his department “will rigorously enforce” a law that has been on the books since 1979 which “required providers of abortion services and those who treat abortion complications to report every complication they diagnose or treat after an abortion to the Department of Health and Senior Services within 45 days.”

Dr. Williams added, “It has recently come to my attention that this law was not complied with under previous administrations.”

The day after Dr. Williams issued his press release, the AP ran a story whose opening paragraph read as follows: “Missouri’s only licensed abortion provider said Thursday it was unaware until recently that it had to report any complications from the procedures under a 38-year-old state law that Missouri’s new health chief is pledging to enforce more rigorously.”

Really? Perhaps their institutional memory is faulty because soon after it was enacted in 1979, PPFA filed suit against it. (The statute was eventually upheld by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in 1981.)

As always, context is essential. Missouri currently has one abortion clinic–Planned Parenthood in St. Louis–which performs both surgical and chemical abortions.

However, as NRL News Today has reported previously, last month U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs refused to delay enforcing the preliminary injunction he issued in April in favor of Planned Parenthood. At issue are two Missouri laws Sachs has blocked– one requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles, the other requiring abortion clinics to meet the requirements of ambulatory surgical centers.

In response Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley asked the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals to put on hold on Sach’s order. The abortion industry in Missouri is getting ready to gear up, hoping Sach’s order is allowed to stand.

According to the AP

Planned Parenthood’s Kansas City center has offered medication-induced [chemical] abortions and has said it would resume doing so if Missouri regulations in question were deemed unconstitutional. Its Columbia center stopped offering the procedure a nonsurgical type, induced with a pill in 2015 after its only doctor performing medication-induced abortions lost needed privileges with University of Missouri Health Care.

The regional Planned Parenthood affiliates said last month that the agencies have applied for licenses for their clinics in Kansas City and Columbia. They’re hoping to offer abortion services at those locations by this summer and are preparing related applications to the state for the Joplin and Springfield.