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Missouri House Republicans float several ideas for tightening regulations on abortion providers

The Mo. House committees on ways and means & children and families hold a joint meeting as part of an ongoing legislative investigation into Planned Parenthood's operations in Missouri.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio
/
The Mo. House committees on ways and means & children and families hold a joint meeting as part of an ongoing legislative investigation into Planned Parenthood's operations in Missouri.

A Missouri House committee is putting together recommendations that could place further restrictions on abortion providers, namely Planned Parenthood.

Several Republican lawmakers began brainstorming various proposals toward the end of a public hearing Wednesday at the State Capitol.

They included random inspections of any facility that performs abortions, including hospitals.

"If they're doing surgical abortions, for termination (of pregnancies), then yeah, they should be," said Representative Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester.

Koenig co-chaired Wednesday's hearing, along with Rep. Diane Franklin, R-Camdenton.  She wants to see improved tracking of fetal tissue handled by clinics that perform abortions.

"Thepathologist can be a key in that, because if they receive one of the aborted babies and there is something that should be there that's not there, we want them to be sure to flag that," Franklin said.  "Then we need someone at the Department (of Health) that is paying attention (and sees) that it is flagged, so we can go back, trace it right back, just like you'd trace a package from Amazon, 'my package has gone missing,' and be able to identify what happened."

The Mo. House committees on ways and means & children and families hold a joint meeting as part of an ongoing legislative investigation into Planned Parenthood's operations in Missouri.
Credit Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio
/
The Mo. House committees on ways and means & children and families hold a joint meeting as part of an ongoing legislative investigation into Planned Parenthood's operations in Missouri.

Likely the most controversial idea came from Rep. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville.  He suggested passing legislation that would force Planned Parenthood to build a memorial to aborted fetuses.

"We have (since 1973) 56 million babies that have been lost in the abortion service and industry, (so) I think maybe requiring that Planned Parenthood set up some type of memorial, like a Vietnam Wall type (memorial)," Brattin said.  "I know that sounds crazy, but by state law (fetuses are) given human status, so should there be a human memorial attached to that human life?"

A list of recommendations is expected to be issued before the start of next year's legislative session.  

Wednesday's brainstorming session happened after Democratic House members left the committee meeting.  It was the latest in a series of hearings led by House and Senate Republicans in Missouri focused Planned Parenthood.

Earlier in the meeting, Republican and Democratic members of the House committees on children and families, and ways and means, heard testimony from several witnesses, including Dr. James Miller of Pathology Services, Inc.  His clinic receives and disposes of fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood.

Representative Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, asked Miller if the fetal remains are given a proper burial. Miller said that they are incinerated, not buried.

Moon then asked, "Is it possible that some of those specimens have had parts removed before you've received them at your clinic?"

"I guess anything would be possible, (but) I don't think it's probable," Miller replied.

During a break in the testimony, Rep. StaceyNewman, D-Richmond Heights, told reporters that Wednesday's hearing, along with earlier ones held this summer, are politically motivated.

"I am perplexed," Newman said.  "I know that this is a witch hunt hearing, in terms of trying to find some type of legislation for the majority to file next year, which we know is a presidential election year."

Last month, Attorney General Chris Koster release a report stating that the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis is properly disposing of fetal tissue and that there is "no evidence whatsoever" that the clinic ever sold tissue.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Copyright 2021 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Missouri Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a proud alumnus of the University of Mississippi (a.k.a., Ole Miss), and has been in radio for over 20 years, starting out as a deejay. His big break in news came when the first President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama in 1989. Marshall was working the graveyard shift at a rock station, and began ripping news bulletins off the old AP teletype and reading updates between songs. From there on, his radio career turned toward news reporting and anchoring. In 1999, he became the capital bureau chief for Florida's Radio Networks, and in 2003 he became News Director at WFSU-FM/Florida Public Radio. During his time in Tallahassee he covered seven legislative sessions, Governor Jeb Bush's administration, four hurricanes, the Terri Schiavo saga, and the 2000 presidential recount. Before coming to Missouri, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, reporting and anchoring for WWNC-AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Marshall lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Julie, their dogs, Max and Mason, and their cat, Honey.
Marshall Griffin
St. Louis Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a native of Mississippi and proud alumnus of Ole Miss (welcome to the SEC, Mizzou!). He has been in radio for over 20 years, starting out as a deejay. His big break in news came when the first President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama in 1989. Marshall was working the graveyard shift at a rock station, and began ripping news bulletins off an old AP teletype and reading updates between songs. From there on, his radio career turned toward news reporting and anchoring. In 1999, he became the capital bureau chief for Florida's Radio Networks, and in 2003 he became News Director at WFSU-FM/Florida Public Radio. During his time in Tallahassee he covered seven legislative sessions, Governor Jeb Bush's administration, four hurricanes, the Terri Schiavo saga, and the 2000 presidential recount. Before coming to Missouri, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, reporting and anchoring for WWNC-AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Marshall lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Julie, their dogs, Max and Liberty Belle, and their cat, Honey.