Missouri's state health director says he tracked Planned Parenthood patients' periods

Missouri's state health director says he tracked Planned Parenthood patients' periods
© Greg Nash

Missouri's state health director testified Tuesday that he had kept a spreadsheet tracking the periods of women who visited a Planned Parenthood clinic in the state as a means of identifying patients who had undergone failed abortions.

Dr. Randall Williams, head of Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services, told a state hearing that he kept a spreadsheet at the request of investigators looking into Planned Parenthood's records of failed abortions in the state, according to the Kansas City Star.

Investigators eventually identified four patients who had to return to Planned Parenthood clinics in order to receive successful surgical abortions, the Star reported.

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The spreadsheet was created, Williams said, after investigators found evidence that a failed abortion had occurred without a complication report being filed with state authorities.

That investigation later led to state officials withholding a license from a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis, which is now fighting to regain its licensed status.

News of Williams's actions was criticized on social media on Tuesday by Democrats including Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerPatrick backs reparations in unveiling 'Equity Agenda for Black Americans' Booker ahead of Trump impeachment trial: 'History has its eyes on us' Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial MORE (D-N.J.), a 2020 candidate for president.

"This news out of Missouri is deeply disturbing. The decision to have an abortion should be between a woman and her health care provider, free from government interference. This abuse of power by Missouri Republicans is dystopian," Booker tweeted.