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Missouri Health Director Kept Spreadsheet of Women’s Menstrual Cycles

HeadlineNov 01, 2019

In Missouri, a series of public hearings is underway to determine the fate of the state’s last remaining abortion provider — a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis. In June, state officials moved to deny the clinic’s license to perform abortions in what pro-choice groups called a politically motivated attack on reproductive rights.

On Tuesday, Missouri health director Dr. Randall Williams admitted he kept a spreadsheet tracking the menstrual periods of Planned Parenthood patients — a database that was emailed between Health Department employees. Missouri lawmakers are demanding the governor investigate the spreadsheet as a major violation of medical privacy laws.

On Thursday, the director of surgical services at Planned Parenthood’s St. Louis clinic broke down in tears as she testified about invasive, medically unnecessary pelvic exams she was forced to administer to people seeking abortions, under a state mandate that has since been reversed.

In August, a federal judge blocked Missouri’s near-total ban on abortions one day before it was set to take effect. A federal court halted a similar abortion ban in Alabama earlier this week, citing the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 decision, Roe v. Wade.

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