WASHINGTON, D.C. –– You have no privacy. You have no rights. Your body belongs to the state.
That’s the message Missouri women are getting with the news that the state is monitoring the menstrual cycles of women who receive abortion care from Planned Parenthood.
The state health director, Randall Williams, kept a spreadsheet tracking the menstrual cycles of women to determine who had undergone what he called “failed abortions,” citing a handful of cases in which Planned Parenthood patients returned to the clinic to have another procedure.
“They have twisted the process in a way that four patients might jeopardize the health of over one million women in the state of Missouri, because those four patients experienced a rare but known complication,” Dr. David Eisenberg, a physician who works with Planned Parenthood, told St. Louis Public Radio.
Once again, anti-abortion extremists are inventing reasons to deny women their constitutionally protected reproductive health rights. Abortion is a safe medical procedure that statistically has fewer complications than bringing a pregnancy to term, colonoscopies, hernia operations and knee replacement surgery.
During China’s “one child” policy, the government kept records of women’s contraceptive use and whether they were sterilized, pregnant, married or single. Donald Trump admires and emulates authoritarian regimes, and his allies in state government are eager to follow suit.
NOW is calling for a thorough investigation into this invasion of patient privacy and blatant attempt to once again inject politics into the availability and practice of reproductive health care in Missouri.
Women are not data points on a spreadsheet. Women are not pawns to use in political games. Women will not tolerate this outrage, and our voices will be heard. We demand the state of Missouri fire Randall Williams immediately.