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Conflict grows between anti-abortion proponents and Planned Parenthood

ST. LOUIS – Missouri Planned Parenthood affiliates have faced enhanced scrutiny, rhetoric and acts of vandalism over the past several days. The organization found itself under contempt of a Senate committee and the victim of an act of vandalism.

The organization continues to find itself at the center of a fight with anti-abortion activists and Sen. Kurt Schaefer’s Sanctity of Life Committee. This past weekend, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region (PPSLR) and Southwest Missouri refused to comply with a Senate committee subpoena, which requested information regarding occasions when ambulances were called to the facility.

In an interview with the Missouri Times Friday, President and CEO of PPSLR Mary Kogut questioned the need for further investigation into Planned Parenthood.

“I think what’s so important to recognize is that the attorney general performed a very thorough investigation of Planned Parenthood,” she said. “He found us to be totally compliant with the law. He gave us a totally clean bill of health. We stand on that, we know that that’s true.”

Complications during the abortion procedure can sometimes prompt a need for emergency care, but Kogut insists that abortion is still a safe procedure. A University of California-San Francisco study found that major complications from abortions occur less than one quarter of a percent of the time – about the same risk as a colonoscopy.

Schaefer told the Associated Press that Planned Parenthood’s failure to comply with the subpoena has put the organization in contempt, the punishment for which could consist of a fine or possible jail time.

However, the St. Louis Planned Parenthood on South Grand, which does not offer abortions was also the target of what it called a violent attack early Saturday morning when a woman broke windows at the facility by throwing rocks at them.

“The attack at our health center on South Grand highlights the continued and increasing violence against women’s health care providers,” Kogut said in a statement. “The extreme anti-abortion rhetoric that fuels these types of attacks has to stop. We cannot let people opposed to the full spectrum of reproductive health care intimidate providers, patients, supporters, and volunteers from accessing the services they need.”

The facility was closed Saturday after the incident, but it reopened Monday.

Pro-abortion rights advocates and leaders of Planned Parenthood have held that heightened rhetoric and unwarranted investigations stemming from videos alleging that Planned Parenthood affiliates profited off of fetal tissue donations have prompted violence against its around the country. Four Planned Parenthood clinics have experienced arson attacks since September, others have experienced acts of vandalism like the clinic in St. Louis, and of course there was the shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic in November in which three people died.

The shooter yelled at his court date that he was a “warrior for the babies” and allegedly said “no more baby parts” as he was taken into custody.