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Gov. Parson Holds Facebook Press Conference Regarding Planned Parenthood License Renewal

Lindsey Grojean/KRCU

In a Facebook Live video today, Missouri Governor Mike Parson held a press conference outlining issues surrounding Planned Parenthood’s St. Louis clinic, which could be forced to stop offering abortion procedures after their state license expires this Friday.

The conference comes less than a week after Parson signed restrictive abortion legislation into law, which criminalizes the procedure in the state after eight weeks of pregnancy.

The Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region filed a lawsuit in state court on Tuesday asking for a restraining order to prevent the clinic - the last in the state - from ceasing services. According to a press release, Missouri would be the only state in the country without a health center to provide the procedure.

In the video, Parson said the organization has known for a year that their annual renewal license would expire at the end of May. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services performed annual inspections on the facility in March, when officials discovered what Parson called “numerous violations of state laws and regulations.”

In early April, the department launched an investigation into the quality of the facility, brought on by raised concerns regarding “quality of care, patient safety, and statutory compliance.” They then requested to conduct interviews with seven physicians, which an attorney with Planned Parenthood said they were not obligated to do. The attorney later informed regulators that physicians would be represented by their own legal council.

Parson claimed the organization has been “reluctant to cooperate” throughout the process, and claimed that these actions were unprecedented.

“Planned Parenthood has had ample time to address identified deficiencies, and allow state officials to interview abortion doctors. Yet up until 10 days ago, the state had not received Planned Parenthood’s application for renewal,” said Parson.

In their press release, Planned Parenthood said the health and safety of patients is a “top priority,” and that the St. Louis health center has “maintained 100 percent compliance, as required by law, every year - a higher standard than is required by any other health center in the state.”

Parson stated that the organization shouldn’t have any issues cooperating with the standard required by state law if they are “following all Missouri law, governing abortion, and operating a safe environment.

“We should all agree that regardless of the number of abortion facilities, every step should be taken to ensure all laws are followed for the safety and well-being of women’s healthcare,” said Parson.  

Parson said the investigation is an ongoing process.