The disturbing revelation was made during a Tuesday court hearing that addressed Missouri's efforts to revoke the abortion license for Planned Parenthood's St. Louis location, which is sole abortion clinic in the state. According to the Kansas City Star, Missouri's health director Dr. Randall Williams testified he had requested the spreadsheet in an attempt to identify "failed abortions" that occurred at the clinic.
Williams claimed the spreadsheet, which "included identification numbers and the date of the last menstrual period of each patient," was based on medical records that state investigators could access. Williams told the court the agency launched the investigation after inspectors found evidence of a failed abortion that didn't have a complication report filed with the state. He said officials eventually determined four women had gone to the St. Louis clinic on multiple occasions to have a successful abortion. Williams said this finding, as well as physicians' refusal to cooperate with investigators, is what prompted the state to withhold the clinic's abortion license.
As reported by the Associated Press, Williams said two doctors have since provided information about the "failed abortion" cases, and have helped to determine why they were unsuccessful. "While these things are very concerning — they are grave — I think going forward they are imminently fixable," he said.
The Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri responded to Williams' testimony via Twitter on Tuesday, stating health officials have "gone too far" and committed "a major violation of privacy."
"This is more evidence of how [Gov. Mike Parson] and his health department have weaponized the licensing process to attack Planned Parenthood and end abortion access in Missouri," the group tweeted. "Health officials clearly took advantage of the licensure process to access patient records and use that information to conduct a witch hunt with one goal: to end abortion access."
The hearing is expected to last until the end of the week. The St. Louis clinic will reportedly remain open until the hearing ruling, which won't be announced until at least February.