Planned Parenthood reaches agreement with Missouri Senate, contempt proceedings suspended

Apr 22, 2016
Originally published on April 22, 2016 5:17 pm

Planned Parenthood's St. Louis clinic has agreed to hand over some documents to the Missouri Senate on how it disposes of fetal tissue.

As part of the negotiated agreement the Senate will suspend contempt proceedings against Planned Parenthood regional director Mary Kogut. The contempt measure was sponsored by Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia.

"I think we (were) pretty clear what we asked for in the subpoena," Schaefer told reporters Thursday. "We've had discussions with their lawyer; again, the misinformation that we wanted six years of personal medical records simply was never asked for, and I think they understand that now."

Kogut was scheduled to appear before the Senate on Monday and answer why Planned Parenthood had not handed over the documents, which had been subpoenaed by a Senate committee.  She could have faced fines and jail time for refusing to cooperate.

The Senate has also suspended contempt proceedings against Dr. James Miller of Pathology Services.

"Dr. Miller, through his attorney, exercised his rights under the 5th Amendment against self incrimination," Schaefer said.  "We will not require him to appear just to take the 5th."

The dispute goes back to last summer, in the wake of an anti-abortion group's release of videos claiming that some Planned Parenthood clinics were illegally handling fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood officials say the videos have been heavily edited, and Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster found no evidence of wrongdoing by the St. Louis clinic.

Democratic lawmakers have accused Schaefer and other Republican legislators of conducting a "witchhunt" against Planned Parenthood.

Schaefer is seeking the Republican nomination for state attorney general.

The agreement calls for all documents in question to be handed over by May 9, but Schaefer says some are expected to arrive today.

Mallory Daily contributed to this report.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

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