JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Sanctity of Life Committee Chairman Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, announced at a media availability on Thursday afternoon neither Dr. James Miller nor Mary Kogut would be required to appear before the Senate on Monday.
The Senate approved resolutions this week summoning the two. Pathology Services’ Miller will plead the fifth, reserving the right to not incriminate himself, while Planned Parenthood and the Senate reached an agreement meaning Kogut, CEO of Planned Parenthood of St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, would not be required to appear. The summonses were approved by the Senate in response to neither appearing before the Committee in December.
“We do have an agreement with Planned Parenthood that they will comply with the subpoena and produce documents,” Schaefer said.
Planned Parenthood called this a “victory for patient privacy” in response to the agreement, saying, “Planned Parenthood had refused to yield to unprecedented political pressure from Sen. Kurt Schaefer to turn over six years of patient-related information protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).”
“This agreement is a victory for Planned Parenthood patients and their confidence in our commitment to provide high quality confidential care – no matter what,” said Kogut in a statement. “What Sen. Schaefer was trying to do was wrong. We appreciate Senate leaders who agreed to request a narrower set of policy-related documents that in no way risk patient privacy. It remains deeply concerning that in 2016 a politician was willing to threaten to punish a reproductive health provider with jail for protecting patient privacy.
“For health care providers, confidentiality is the cornerstone of our relationship with patients – any release of documents is of serious concern. Each year, Planned Parenthood serves 45,000 women, men, and young people in Missouri, providing medical and education services. I will continue to stand by each and every one of our patients and protect their privacy,” concluded Kogut.
Schaefer contends the Senate never wished to view confidential records, but that the chamber and committee wanted to understand how fetal tissue was disposed of, especially in light of the videos released last year mentioning the St. Louis clinic.
“I think we were pretty clear what we asked for in the subpoena…The misinformation that we wanted six years of personal medical records simply was never asked for and I think they understand that now,” Schaefer said. “…All we want to find out is what is going on…All we what to know is what is the policy, what is the procedure. Hopefully the documents will see that.”
what the documents are, what the procedure is.
The conference also applauded the General Assembly’s passage of the Fiscal Year 2017 budget, which was approved and signed within both chambers on Thursday. The budget stripped state funding for Planned Parenthood.
The documents are expected to be received by the Senate on Friday, according to Schaefer.