Planned Parenthood in St. Louis—the last abortion provider in Missouri—announced it will stop complying with a requirement that doctors provide a second pelvic exams on women seeking abortions.
According to CBS, Planned Parenthood’s doctors say the examination is unethical, and that it will only conduct a pelvic exam at the time of the procedure when it is deemed medically relevant, and not at the initial consultation that takes place 72 hours beforehand.
We are choosing to provide the best quality, patient centered care that we’ve always provided at Planned Parenthood,” said Dr. David Eisenberg, the clinic’s medical director, in an interview with CBS News correspondent Meg Oliver. “And that includes doing things that are driven by science, by evidence, and by what’s medically appropriate.”
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced the new policy late last month; since then, Planned Parenthood has been embroiled in a legal battle with Missouri’s health department over whether the clinic will be allowed to keep its license. Until now, Planned Parenthood has been complying with the policy. But after further consideration, Eisenberg said it intendeds to stop.
“Over the last few weeks, I have new evidence to say that 100% of the patients who I’ve taken care of who’ve undergone this inappropriate, medically unnecessary, unethical pelvic exam have been harmed by that. Because to do so, in my opinion, is just assault.”
As Dr. Colleen McNicholas of the St. Louis Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services told Rachel Maddow earlier this month, a pelvic exam, which includes inserting fingers and other instruments in the vagina, offers no medical information. “It doesn’t do anything to help the patient, or myself, choose what is the best approach for their abortion care,” she said. Rather, it’s a clear effort by Missouri Republicans to deter women from getting abortions.
As of now, the clinic remains open thanks to a preliminary injunction. A judge ruled that the state has until Friday to reach a decision.