A Missouri Planned Parenthood branch will not comply with a subpoena to give abortion-related records to Republican state lawmakers, the women's health group said Friday.
In a letter sent to Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, who issued the subpoena, an attorney for Planned Parenthood questioned the Senate's authority to subpoena private organizations and raised patient privacy and other concerns.
Republican Sen. Kurt Schaefer, who is running for Missouri attorney general in 2016, said he pushed for the subpoena to provide information to a committee he's leading that is reviewing abortion practices in the state. He said Planned Parenthood is in contempt.
GOP leaders launched the Senate Interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life in response to the release of undercover videos by anti-abortion activists that they said showed Planned Parenthood personnel discussing the sale of fetal tissue.
Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri President and CEO Mary Kogut in a Friday statement said the St. Louis clinic — currently the only center providing abortions in the state — does not participate in a fetal tissue donation program.
"We have been clear about this fact from the very beginning," Kogut said, citing a review by Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster that found no evidence of wrongdoing. She said the organization stands on Koster's conclusion "and believe the issue has been resolved."
Planned Parenthood's letter to Richard said answering a request for documents of any incidents where an ambulance was called would violate a federal patient privacy law. It went on to say that there's an "increased concern over the sensitivity of abortion-related records," particularly after a November fatal shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood.
Schaefer said the committee wasn't asking for private health records and said Planned Parenthood could have redacted personally identifiable information from documents. He said the goal was to find out more information on the St. Louis clinic's abortion policies and procedures.
Schaefer said it's up to the full Senate how to proceed, but said jail time or fines are an option in cases of contempt.