Tuesday, May 21

Planned Parenthood ‘stonewalling’ state AG in probe into peddling puberty blockers to minors

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey is now permitted to access patient documents from Planned Parenthood that could potentially expose whether the clinic has offered puberty blockers and transgender surgeries to children. 

St. Louis Circuit Judge Michael Stelzer determined last week that Missouri’s Merchandising Practices Act allows Bailey to obtain patient documents because they do not fall under Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protections, otherwise known as a federal law protecting patient privacy.

Bailey told Fox News Digital the court ruling is “a huge win” in his series of investigations into how transgender health clinics have offered services to minors. 

However, of the three clinics Bailey has won against in court, only one has handed over documents: Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. The other clinic – a Planned Parenthood in Great Plains – has filed an appeal to keep the documents private. The Planned Parenthood in St. Louis, which the judge has ordered to hand over files to the attorney general, has yet to send any of its patient documents.

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“It’s extremely questionable that Planned Parenthood is actively stonewalling our investigations,” Bailey told Fox News Digital. “I had to haul them into court in order to get a judge to force them to turn over the documents we’ve requested.”

Bailey added, “If we have to continue to go to court to protect children and uncover what went on here, that’s exactly what we’ll do.”

According to the court opinion, Planned Parenthood attempted to block Bailey’s inquiry and argued that Bailey’s office “failed to show” how they were “directly involved in his investigation” of transgender clinics.

In Stelzer’s opinion, Bailey “is investigating possible dishonesty by Plaintiff in their medical and billing practices.”

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“It is clear from the statute that the Defendant has the broad investigative powers when the consumer is in possible need of protection and there is no dispute in this matter that the MMPA (Missouri Merchandising Practices Act) applies,” Stelzer said. 

Last year, Bailey launched a multi-agency investigation into the Washington University Transgender Center (TGC) at St. Louis Children’s Hospital after a whistleblower went public and accused the hospital of lying to parents of patients.

The AG’s inquiry into the TGC “seeks all records for all patients treated at the TGC, among other requests seeking private and protected health information. These records involve more than 1,000 patients.”

Jamie Reed said in an affidavit submitted to the attorney general’s office in early 2023 that she was employed as a case manager at the children’s hospital from 2018 until November 2022. She accused hospital employees at the transgender center of lying to the parents of patients, among many other issues.

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Just a few months later, Missouri enacted a law outlawing puberty blockers, hormones and gender-transition surgeries for minors. But the AG’s investigations from prior to the law will continue across the state, the office told Fox News Digital. 

After the law was passed, Bailey’s office sent a letter to providers across Missouri, warning them to stop providing experimental treatment on children immediately.

“My team will get to the bottom of how this clandestine network of clinics has subjected children to puberty blockers and irreversible surgery, often without parental consent,” Bailey said.

Fox News Digital has reached out to Planned Parenthood for comment.

Fox News’ Adam Sabes contributed to this report.

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