Associated Press: Missouri senator seeks testimony from Planned Parenthood

By Adam Aton, Associated Press

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – A Missouri state senator began moving forward Wednesday with an effort to hold a Planned Parenthood official in contempt for refusing to provide documents on how the organization handles fetal remains.

Sen. Kurt Schaefer filed resolutions summoning Mary Kogut, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, and Dr. James Miller, owner of the suburban St. Louis Pathology Services Inc. that reviews tissue from Planned Parenthood, to the Senate at 10 a.m. April 18 to answer why they have not complied with a Senate subpoena.

The resolutions would authorize Senate leaders to direct the sergeant-at-arms to bring Kogut and Miller to the Capitol. The Missouri Constitution allows the Senate to punish those who demonstrate “contemptuous behavior” with up to a $300 fine, 10 days in jail or both.

A Planned Parenthood spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment, and there was no answer at St. Louis Pathology Services after hours on Wednesday. However, Kogut previously has said the Planned Parenthood chapter disputes the authority of the Senate’s subpoena for the documents.

Schaefer said he wants to give Kogut and Miller the chance to show up, and he left open the possibility that they could invoke their Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions that could incriminate themselves. At the same time, he asserted that any punishment the Senate imposes would follow the due process of the chamber, not the courts, because of the separation of powers.

“I would hope that it doesn’t come to that point,” he said, but it’s important to show there are consequences to ignoring a Senate subpoena.

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