Editorial | Hold Planned Parenthood accountable

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As the Missouri legislative session comes to a close in a few weeks, lawmakers remain strong in their efforts to pass laws that hold abortion providers accountable for how they handle the remains of aborted babies.

Their work follows the release of a series of undercover videos produced in 2015 by the Center for Medical Progress. The videos depict Planned Parenthood officials discussing the potential sale of fetal body parts procured from abortions. In one of those videos, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of Planned Parenthood Federation of America's Medical Services Department, referred to St. Louis as an "untapped" place to obtain body parts for research.

Several investigations ensued in Missouri, looking at how Planned Parenthood operates in Missouri. Those investigations revealed many unanswered questions and have prompted lawmakers to file legislation that would place greater oversight on how the abortion provider handles the remains of babies. Two of those bills HCS HBs 2069 and 2371, sponsored by Rep. Diane Franklin (R-Camdenton), would require the Department of Health and Senior Services to check reports from the abortion clinic against what is sent from the pathology lab. The bills also would provide whistle-blower protections to employees of abortion clinics and hospitals who report illegal use of body parts from aborted babies.

It is essential for Catholics to contact their legislators and voice their support for this legislation.

"(It's) important to have accountability of where the body parts of these unborn babies are going and more transparency in the process by requiring thorough reports by pathology lab and Department of Health and Senior Services," said Deacon Sam Lee of Campaign Life Missouri. "We're grateful that state lawmakers are considering these important reforms after what has been uncovered by the videos."

The Senate Interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life also continues its effort to summon Mary Kogut, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, and Dr. James Miller, owner of Pathology Services Inc., to answer why they have not complied with a legislative subpoena requesting documentation that shows how they handle fetal remains.

Planned Parenthood's argument that the Senate is requesting personally identifiable patient information is nothing more than a smokescreen. Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), chair of the Senate committee, has made it abundantly clear that legislators are not asking for patient information.

This documentation is critical, now that we're learning an investigation in Indiana uncovered MedAssure, a medical waste company servicing Pathology Services and Planned Parenthood in St. Louis, was illegally disposing fetal remains. This company was mentioned in Attorney General Chris Koster's report in September that cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing.

It's time that we get to the bottom of Planned Parenthood's activities in Missouri, and we applaud our legislators for leading the charge to uncover that. 

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