JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, sought Tuesday to clarify claims that he was seeking the personal information of Planned Parenthood patients through subpoenas issued by his Senate Interim Sanctity of Life Committee.
“We are not requesting, nor have we ever sought to gain, personally identifiable information,” Schaefer said. “The Interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life never requested any personally identifiable information. That was further clarified in a letter to Planned Parenthood in March.”
Last week, Schaefer presented resolutions to the Rules Committee that would require Mary Kogut, the president of Planned Parenthood of St. Louis and Southwest Missouri, and Dr. James Miller, the head of Pathology Services, Inc., be held in contempt of the subpoenas that required them to attend a Sanctity of Life hearing Dec. 2, 2015 that neither attended.
Pro-choice groups have been lobbying against the effort, arguing that the subpoenas require Planned Parenthood to hand over the personal medical records of patients. Tuesday, they launched shameonschaefer.com, a site collecting signatures to tell Sen. Kurt Schaefer, the Senate Sanctity of Life committee chairman, that his attacks on Planned Parenthood are “shameful.”
Schaefer refuted the claim Tuesday afternoon in a press release. He also argued that the resolutions to hold Kogut and Miller in contempt are now more about upholding the integrity of the process.
“This is not so much about the context of what was subpoenaed, but the integrity of the process,” Schaefer said. “The subpoena process gives the Senate the ability to get information when it comes to public policy and public spending. If we don’t have that ability, the government is at a severe disability to do its job.”
If the resolutions pass, Kogut and Miller would have to appear before the Senate Committee of the Whole on April 18.