Missouri AG’s ‘Sham Investigation’ into Planned Parenthood Can Continue, Judge Says

But Judge Michael Stelzer will not allow Bailey to access the private medical records of people who’ve sought gender-affirming care

Apr 12, 2024 at 12:07 pm
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey has sought records on the gender-affirming care provided by Planned Parenthood in St. Louis.
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey has sought records on the gender-affirming care provided by Planned Parenthood in St. Louis. COURTESY MISSOURI GOVERNOR'S OFFICE

While handing Planned Parenthood a small privacy win to protect patient medical records, a St. Louis judge has allowed Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s investigation into its gender-affirming care services to proceed.

Last year, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri sued Bailey over his demand that they turn over patient documents disclosing private information on minors to whom the clinic provided gender-affirming care for transgender and gender expansive youth. 

Yesterday, St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Michael Stelzer denied Bailey’s Civil Investigative Demand for these patient documents, but has allowed his investigation into the clinic’s care to continue.

“Although the decision requires us to turn over other documents, our patients’ private medical records and information will not be disclosed,” the clinic said in a statement following the decision. 

Bailey treated the decision as a political win.

“The Court just ordered Planned Parenthood-St. Louis to turn over documents exposing how they subjected children to puberty blockers and irreversible surgery, often without parental consent,” Bailey posted to social media yesterday. “We are 3/3 in our court battle to force clinics to comply with our investigations.”

The court agreed that Bailey’s position entitles him to broad investigative powers and granted his request for some of the documents outlined in his civil investigative demand, however it does not allow him to view federally protected patient documents without the patient's express consent, according to court documents. Any documents not protected by HIPAA are to be turned over to Bailey.

“Just as we saw with abortion access, state politicians are inserting themselves into our health care and exam rooms, this time attacking the trans community. Missouri politicians — including the Attorney General — have waged a harmful war on transgender and gender-expansive youth in their doctors’ offices, restrooms, libraries, schools, and athletic fields,” Planned Parenthood wrote in a statement responding to the ruling.

While the clinic celebrated the privacy win, it still regarded the ruling as deeply disappointing. 

“By allowing the Attorney General to continue his sham investigation, the court has green-lit the ongoing assault on Missourians’ health care. Gender-affirming care has been recognized as essential and lifesaving care by more than two dozen leading medical organizations; patients have no reason to have this war waged by the Attorney General against their care. Attacks like this one are what happens when politicians put politics over people — people who look, identify, and believe differently from them.” Richard Muniz, interim president and CEO of the clinic said in the statement.

“It’s no coincidence: this sham investigation is a coordinated attack against transgender Missourians at a time when politicians, across many states, are systematically dismantling the right to establish one’s own gender identity,” Muniz continued. “Just like abortion wasn’t banned overnight, neither will trans care. It will be systematically dismantled — little by little, starting with the most vulnerable, including young people.”

Subscribe to Riverfront Times newsletters.

Follow us: Apple NewsGoogle News | NewsBreak | Reddit | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Or sign up for our RSS Feed