Judge won’t dismiss Missouri lawsuit accusing Planned Parenthood of transporting girls out of state for abortions

The exterior of a Planned Parenthood clinic is seen on May 28, 2019, in St Louis, Missouri.
The exterior of a Planned Parenthood clinic is seen on May 28, 2019, in St Louis, Missouri. | Getty Images/Michael B. Thomas

A Missouri judge has ruled that a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Andrew Bailey, which accuses Planned Parenthood of unlawfully transporting girls out of state for abortions, will proceed. The decision came after a request for dismissal by the defendant was denied.

The suit claims that Planned Parenthood Great Plains staff, located in the Kansas City area, were covertly recorded by a Project Veritas affiliate discussing ways to get an abortion for a fabricated 13-year-old girl without parental knowledge.

Despite arguments from Planned Parenthood’s attorney, John Andrew Hirth, asserting the absence of any illegal activities or completed abortions, Boone County Judge Brouck Jacobs deemed the allegations substantial enough to warrant further examination, the Missouri Independent reported.

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Project Veritas, known for its undercover investigations, released the video in question last December. The video shows a man, posing as an uncle, seeking an abortion for his niece, and interacting with Planned Parenthood staff who suggest bypassing parental consent by going to their Kansas clinics. When the man inquired about the frequency with which minors are taken out of state for abortions, a Planned Parenthood employee responded that it occurs “every day.”

Planned Parenthood Great Plains had sought to dismiss the case soon after its initiation. Erin Thompson, general counsel for the organization, stated Wednesday that their defense would robustly challenge the allegations, which she described as based on hypothetical situations involving non-existent patients.

During the lawsuit’s hearing earlier this month, the Attorney General’s office underscored Missouri’s laws against aiding minors in obtaining abortions without parental consent. Kathryn Monroe, representing the state, argued that the staff’s reactions to the hypothetical scenarios posed by the undercover operative indicated a readiness to act unlawfully.

Planned Parenthood claims it doesn't provide or facilitate transportation for any abortion procedures across state lines. The organization also stated that Missouri law does not prevent minors from seeking abortions in other states, nor does it require parental consent for such actions, though Kansas law does impose such restrictions.

In June 2022, a trigger law went into effect in Missouri, outlawing most abortions within the state, with exceptions only for medical emergencies. Last month, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed House Bill 2634, prohibiting the allocation of public funds, including Medicaid, to abortion providers and their affiliates.

“This is the beginning of the end for Planned Parenthood in the state of Missouri,” Bailey said in a statement last week.

In March, Bailey announced a legal action against Planned Parenthood Great Plains as part of a multi-year campaign to drive Planned Parenthood from the state. The suit he filed was to prevent the nation’s largest abortion provider from transporting minors out of state for abortions without parental consent.

In an interview with The Christian Post at the time, Bailey claimed the organization had a history of refusing to comply with Missouri state statutes. “We are not going to let this go,” he said. “This is a lawless cult of death that is committed to their willful refusal to comply with state statutes.”

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