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Missouri Attorney General sues Planned Parenthood, alleging it arranged abortions for minors

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey speaks during a press conference on anti-trans measures on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, at the Old St. Louis Post Office Building in Downtown. In September, Bailey’s office filed a lawsuit against the Wentzville School District Board saying they held discussions regarding policies around the use of bathrooms in private meetings rather than open to the public.
Eric Lee
St. Louis Public Radio
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey sued the Kansas-based Planned Parenthood organization, citing surreptious video footage from the conservative group Project Veritas.

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey on Thursday filed suit against Planned Parenthood Great Plains, accusing the Kansas-based organization of transporting minors across state lines to obtain abortions and of illegally providing the procedures without parental consent.

Bailey asked a Boone County circuit court judge to declare that the attorney general's office has shown that such conduct has occurred. He also asks the court to order Planned Parenthood Great Plains, which operates clinics in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma, to stop transporting minors across state lines and referring them to providers for abortions.

“This is the beginning of the end for Planned Parenthood in the state of Missouri,” Bailey said. “What they conceal and conspire to do in the dark of night has now been uncovered. I am filing suit to ensure it never happens again.”

Missouri prohibited nearly all abortions in the state shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022. The number of abortions performed in the state dwindled before the ruling as the state’s Republican-majority legislature passed laws restricting access to the procedure, with many traveling to Kansas, where abortion remains legal through the 22nd week of pregnancy, and Illinois, where abortion remains legal through approximately the 24th week of pregnancy.

Missouri law also prohibits people from helping a minor have an abortion in another state without parental permission.

Planned Parenthood Great Plains officials called the suit “a press release dressed up as legal action” and denied the accusations in the suit. The organization does not provide transportation or lodging for patients, even if they’re not minors, the officials said, adding they also don’t provide abortions to minors without parental consent or a judge’s order, as per Kansas law.

“We will continue following state and federal laws and proudly providing Missourians with the compassionate sexual and reproductive care that remains available to them in a state with a total abortion ban,” Planned Parenthood Great Plains President and CEO said in a statement.

Bailey cites two videos from the conservative group Project Veritas to support his allegations. The two surreptitiously recorded videos purportedly show Missouri Planned Parenthood employees arranging to transport a 13-year-old girl to Kansas for an abortion without parental consent.

A Project Veritas representative took the video posing as someone seeking an abortion for the minor, according to the suit.

Another video, which Project Veritas said on its website was recorded in a Kansas Planned Parenthood clinic, allegedly shows employees saying they frequently administer abortions to out-of-state minors.

“This Project Veritas video referenced was filmed without the staff’s knowledge or consent,” a Planned Parenthood Great Plains spokeswoman wrote in an email. “It is heavily doctored and edited, as is often the case with these extreme anti-abortion actors.”

Project Veritas frequently uses hidden camera stings in efforts to expose wrongdoings from Democratic politicians, news outlets and abortion rights groups.

Sarah Fentem is the health reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.