From Planned Parenthood:
Planned Parenthood’s Statement on Missouri’s Top Health Official Admitting He Investigated Menstrual Cycles of Missouri Women
For Immediate Release: Oct. 29, 2019
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, Acting President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“This is the reality when people in power want to strip away our rights and freedoms. They force medically unnecessary pelvic exams, investigate menstrual cycles, and do whatever it takes to take control of our bodies, our lives, and our futures. Enough is enough. Every person deserves access to safe, legal abortion without fearing their personal information will be used to wage political war. This is unacceptable and we demand better — for our patients and any person who needs access to safe, legal abortion.”
Statement from Yamelsie Rodriguez, President and CEO, Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region:
“Today’s revelation is deeply disturbing: Missouri’s top health official, Randall Williams, scrutinized menstrual cycles of women in this state in order to end abortion access. He requested a spreadsheet to track the periods of Planned Parenthood patients. As part of Gov. Parson’s effort to end abortion access in Missouri, Williams manufactured a solution in search of a problem.
“Missouri politicians have gone too far. This is government overreach at its worst. It shadows the Trump administration’s history of tracking the periods of refugee girls under the government’s care. This is outrageous and disgusting. Planned Parenthood will always do what’s best for patients and that will guide any decisions we make about how we continue fighting for abortion access.”
From NARAL Missouri:
October 30, 2019/Press Release
NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri Statement: Randall Williams Is a Disgrace to Missouri, Must Go
ST. LOUIS, MO — In response to recent revelations that the Director of Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services Randall Williams monitored the menstrual cycles of women who visited Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood in St. Louis — in an effort to restrict their fundamental right to access abortion care — NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri Executive Director Mallory Schwarz released the following statement:
“Randall Williams has undoubtedly abused his power in the most egregious way: denying the right to access critical health care to those whose health and safety he’s charged to protect. This insidious attack on Missourians’ constitutional rights put into plain view Williams’ coordinated efforts to force his extreme anti-choice agenda on the people of Missouri, and ultimately block them from accessing legal abortion.”
“Under the leadership of Republican Governor Mike Parson, Williams has co-opted public health into a tool of abuse and injustice. From weaponizing the licensure process to deny the state’s only abortion provider its license, to forcing an invasive, medically unnecessary pelvic exam on more than one hundred Missourians, Williams has jeopardized the health of 1.1 million women, trans and non-binary folks of reproductive age, denying them the health care they need, want, and deserve.”
“Randall Williams is a disgrace to Missourians across the state, and he must go. As long as abortion-obsessed extremists like Williams are in power, NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri will fight back in every way we know how. We demand his resignation, as this is clearly the only way to prevent him from continuing to wreak havoc on our health, and impose his fringe, anti-choice agenda on all Missourians.”
Also from NARAL Missouri:
ST. LOUIS, MO — Missouri’s leading grassroots reproductive freedom advocacy organization launched the #TrackThisRandy social media campaign in response to disturbing revelations that Missouri’s Director of the Department of Health and Senior Services Randall Williams tracked the menstrual cycles of people who visited Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood in St. Louis, the state’s only remaining clinic that provides abortion.
This tongue-in-cheek campaign encourages people who menstruate to upload a photo of a period product with #TrackThisRandy written across, and share detailed information about their menstrual cycle: Cramps, irregularity, birth control use, and menopause. For every photo featuring the hashtag, NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri has pledged to donate one box of period products to the St. Louis Alliance for Period Supplies.
“Randall Williams must be held accountable for violating Missourians’ most basic freedoms: The right to privacy and to make personal health care decisions about our bodies — without government coercison,” said NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri Executive Director Mallory Schwarz. “#TrackThisRandy is a rallying cry for the women, trans, and non-binary folks whose health and safety Randall Williams has jeopardized in his crusade to push abortion completely out of reach in Missouri.”
“It’s clear that Randall Williams has prioritized obsessing over the menstrual cycles of people who visited Planned Parenthood of St. Louis, over ensuring the health and safety of Missourians across the state, including improving access to adequate period products for those who need them. More than two-thirds of people of low-income in St. Louis are unable to access period products, and are forced to used unhealthy alternatives such rags. But the reality is that when Randall Williams refuses to do his job, NARAL Missouri commits to doing ours: Fighting for every person’s ability to access the full scope of reproductive health care — without shame, judgement, or fear of retaliation.”
The #TrackThisRandy social media campaign has garnered participation from more than 500 advocates in Missouri and across the states, including current and former elected officials. [….]
From the Missouri Department of Health and Seniors Services:
DHSS denies false allegations
For Immediate Release:
Oct. 30, 2019
JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Irresponsible reporting has led to false claims that Dr. Randall Williams tracks the menstrual cycles of women seeking abortions at Planned Parenthood. The story was based on an erroneous email subject line that both staff and sworn testimony has acknowledged is not accurate. Nothing in the Administrative Hearing Commission testimony that Dr. Williams gave on Oct. 29, or in the Oct. 17 deposition, could in any way be cited to support this false claim that he ordered “spreadsheets” or any document to be created to do such. In fact, during Dr. Williams’ Oct.17 deposition, Planned Parenthood’s attorney Chuck Hatfield asked, “Do you recall making a request related to duplicate records which appear to be duplicate ITOPs [Induced Termination of Pregnancy] with last normal menses date?” Dr. Williams answered, “No, sir.” This “issue” was given very little attention at the hearing and has been falsely reported with the purpose of sensationalizing the hearing, drawing in readers and distracting from the truth.
The truth is that as part of our initial inspection, a concern came up that DHSS may not be receiving complication reports for all failed surgical abortions, as required by law. Without a directive from Dr. Randall Williams, regulators devised a means to efficiently investigate that concern using legally-obtained information which was required by law and which Planned Parenthood routinely submits. A Department investigator took the data in DHSS possession and narrowed if from approximately 3,000 abortions conducted in 2018 to 67 instances where the same woman had multiple abortions in the same year. The data was further narrowed to exclude multiple abortions and ultimately identified a case where a failed abortion was not reported by Planned Parenthood, in violation of Missouri Law. Only then was the case shared by regulators with Dr. Williams. Dr. Williams did not possess a spreadsheet of patient information, and although there was no wrong-doing by regulators, the first time he saw the spreadsheet was at the time of his deposition on Oct. 17. HIPAA compliance was not a factor in this activity as no patient data has been released. This information, in fact, was important in the investigative process in ensuring that facilities are safe for patients.
A long-standing legal mandate requires that “an individual abortion report for each abortion performed or induced upon a woman shall be completed by the physician who performed or induced the abortion.” (RSMo 188.052) With regard to these reports, a regulation was promulgated to detail the required contents of the reports. This rule, 19 CSR 10-15.010, establishes the content of the ITOP report to be filed with the Department. One of the required details in the rule is last normal menses (menstruation). Necessarily, DHSS retains this documentation. Per practice, the reports are reviewed when a complication is reported for an abortion procedure. In order to ensure that our laws and health care standards are being met, reports from abortion facilities, by law, must be reviewed. In this case, Planned Parenthood was not compliant with the complication report requirement for failed abortions. Regulators realized this, and as a result they used the tools they had to protect the health of those who seek abortions at Planned Parenthood.
Well, somebody at DHSS did, didn’t they?
“Irresponsible reporting”? That’s a term that mediocre communications professionals use when they’re trying to defend the indefensible.
Missouri GOP – the party of small government (October 29, 2019)