A Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in St. Louis moved one step closer to being permanently shut down by the state this week when its director declared the facility will refuse to comply with the state’s regulations on pelvic exams.
The clinic, currently the only abortion facility left in Missouri, says they won’t abide by state law requiring them to perform a legally-mandated second pelvic exam on a woman seeking an abortion because it’s not “medically relevant.”
"We are choosing to provide the best quality, patient centered care that we've always provided at Planned Parenthood," Dr. David Eisenberg, the clinic's medical director, told CBS News. “And that includes doing things that are driven by science, by evidence, and by what's medically appropriate."
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services mandates a clinic perform two pelvic exams before an abortion procedure – one during a patient’s first visit, and another right before her abortion. At first the clinic complied, but has now said they’ll only do the exam right before the abortion.
"Over the last few weeks, I have new evidence to say that 100% of the patients who I've taken care of who've undergone this inappropriate, medically unnecessary, unethical pelvic exam have been harmed by that," Eisenberg claimed. "Because to do so, in my opinion, is just assault."
While abortion advocates have long defended Planned Parenthood of St. Louis as the only place Missouri women can go to terminate their babies, the clinic's many legal and ethical violations are usually ignored. As Newsbusters reported, CBS Evening News correspondent Meg Oliver admitted during a Wednesday night broadcast that a state investigation found that the clinic performed an illegal 21-week abortion procedure that directly violated the state’s law against abortions after 20 weeks – a discovery that sparked the state's investigation into whether to renew the clinic's license, and which the facility's proponents almost inevitably fail to mention.
Public records also show the clinic has a history of other violations found during past inspections, including the repeated use of expired medications, IV fluids, using supplies that were at least 6 years old, using single-dose injectable medications for more than one patient and improperly storing medications.
A district judge has mandated the state make a decision whether or not to renew the clinic’s license by Friday, setting up an inevitable legal challenge if it’s declined.