Missouri Health Director Kept a Spreadsheet of Women's Periods

Dr. Randall Williams said the purpose of the spreadsheet was to identify what he considered to be failed abortions performed at Planned Parenthood in St. Louis.

By Emma Ockerman

Oct 29 2019, 6:07pm

Missouri’s top health official reportedly testified Tuesday that he once tracked the menstrual cycles of Planned Parenthood patients through a spreadsheet.

Dr. Randall Williams, the director of the state’s health department, was speaking before the Administrative Hearing Commission tasked with determining the fate of the state’s last abortion clinic. He said the purpose of the spreadsheet was to identify what he considered to be failed abortions, according to the Kansas City Star.

The spreadsheet included identification numbers and the date of each patient’s last menstrual period, and was part of a wider investigation to determine whether patients returned to a St. Louis branch of Planned Parenthood more than once to complete their abortions, according to the Star. A state investigator also had access to the spreadsheet.

The state has alleged it discovered evidence of four women who needed to return to the clinic to “complete” their abortions, according to the Star. Planned Parenthood’s attorneys found the spreadsheet through the legal discovery process, as it was attached to an email with the subject line “Director’s Request.”

“Missouri politicians have gone too far. This is government overreach at its worst," said Yamelsie Rodriguez, president of Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, in a statement Tuesday.

The St. Louis clinic is currently fighting for the ability to continue performing abortions after the state’s health department refused to renew its license over “deficiencies” it found through an investigative process earlier this year.

In exchange for a renewed license, the state wanted Planned Parenthood to complete a series of tasks to be in compliance, including making its physicians available for state investigators. That was the only ask Planned Parenthood wouldn’t agree to, since several of their physicians aren’t direct employees and can’t be forced into interviews.

Williams also testified Tuesday that two of those physicians have since been deposed, and that they were able to provide helpful information about the four incomplete abortions. That information led him to believe the state can find a workable solution with Planned Parenthood.

"While these things are very concerning — they are grave — I think going forward they are imminently fixable," Williams said, according to the Associated Press.

The clinic is still open and performing abortions. The Administrative Hearing Commission’s hearing will continue all week, but a ruling won’t come until February at the earliest, according to the Associated Press.

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/v...womens-periods