The Missouri Senate is moving forward with contempt proceedings against a leading state official in Planned Parenthood’s abortion empire. The Senate adopted a resolution last week demanding that Mary Kogut show cause why she should not face penalties under the law for contempt of the Senate.
Kogut is the President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region. She has refused to respond to a subpoena issued last November to appear before the Senate Sanctity of Human Life Committee. The Committee was appointed to investigate the manner in which Planned Parenthood disposes of the remains of aborted preborn children.
The Committee was convened in the wake of a national uproar over the handling of fetal tissue by abortion clinics operated by Planned Parenthood. Undercover videos released by a group called the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) revealed Planned Parenthood officials engaged in the trafficking of vital organs and body parts of unborn children who had been aborted.
Federal and state law prohibit the sale for profit of fetal tissue from abortions. Yet the videos captured employees and contractors for Planned Parenthood discussing the profit margins to be gained by the sale of baby body parts and the manner in which such sales could be concealed.
The St. Louis region was mentioned prominently in the very first undercover video released by CMP. Deborah Nucatola, the Senior Director of Medical Services for Planned Parenthood Affiliates of America, stated that St. Louis was “an untapped supplier” for baby body parts.
Planned Parenthood operates the only full-time abortion clinic in Missouri in the Central West End of St. Louis known for years as Reproductive Health Services. Washington University physicians have had a longstanding affiliation with the St. Louis abortion clinic. Barnes Hospital in St. Louis has also served as a training center for doctors willing to perform late-term abortions.
The Senate subpoena requested that Kogut produce any documents relating to the sale, donation, or transfer of “any human fetal tissue,” and any contracts with entities for “the disposal of fetal human tissue and medical waste.” The subpoena also requests policies, protocols, and forms used by Planned Parenthood to ensure that a woman has given her informed consent to an abortion.
In unprecedented fashion, Kogut has brazenly defied the Senate subpoena. Not only has she refused to produce the documents requested, Kogut has also refused to appear before the Senate Sanctity of Human Life Committee to answer questions regarding the handling of fetal remains by the Planned Parenthood St. Louis abortion clinic.
Not surprisingly, Kogut has falsely stated that the Missouri Senate is requiring her to furnish documents which would identify women who have undergone abortions in violation of federal privacy laws. Yet the subpoena only requests the text and content of presigned forms used by the clinic to comply with state law.
Senator Kurt Schaefer, Chairman of the Senate Sanctity of Human Life Committee, has provided further communication to Kogut and her attorney that the Senate is by no means requesting any personally identifiable information. Yet Kogut has continued to ignore the subpoena, or to provide any response to the requests submitted by the committee.
Under Article III, Section 8 of the Missouri Constitution, either chamber of the Missouri Legislature may arrest and punish any person “who shall be guilty of disrespect to [that chamber] by any disorderly or contemptuous behavior.” The penalty prescribed in the Constitution is a fine not exceeding three hundred dollars, or imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding ten days.
Under the resolution sponsored by Senator Schaefer and adopted by the Senate last week, Kogut is ordered to appear before the full Senate on Monday, April 25th in what would be an extraordinary occasion in the history of the Missouri Legislature. The resolution states that Kogut “has no lawful excuse for not complying with the Senate subpoena…” and must “show cause why she should not be punished for said contempt.”
The resolution was adopted on a party-line vote of 24-8, with all Republican senators voting in favor of the measure, and all Democrat senators voting against. The Senate adopted a parallel resolution seeking to enforce a subpoena against Dr. James Miller, the head of Pathology Services of St. Louis. Miller has been ordered to appear before the Senate on the same day as Mary Kogut.
Miller’s firm has contracted with Planned Parenthood to conduct pathology reports on samples of fetal tissue from abortions performed at Planned Parenthood. Hearings conducted by the Senate committee revealed that Pathology Services had failed on a repeated basis to file required pathology reports with state health officials. Miller has also spurned a Senate subpoena.
Senate supporters of Planned Parenthood accused Senator Schaefer of being on a “witch hunt,” and that his actions were “throwing the baby out with the bath water.” Senator Schaefer found the analogy crudely ironic. “I know that there are babies going in the door with a beating heart that are coming out without one. I do know that.”