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Former McCrory health director immersed in abortion rights controversy in Missouri

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (left) with Randall Williams, former NC Deputy Secretary of DHHS. (Photo: Gov. Geitens’s Facebook page)

Randall Williams kept spreadsheet of Planned Parenthood patients’ menstrual cycles

In case you missed it, former North Carolina State Health Director and one-time Raleigh mayoral candidate Randall Williams has become the subject of intense scrutiny and criticism in his current job as Missouri’s state health director.

This is from the Kansas City Star:

The Missouri state health director, Dr. Randall Williams, testified at a state hearing Tuesday that he kept a spreadsheet to track the menstrual periods of women who visited Planned Parenthood, an action that one lawmaker has called on the governor to investigate.

The spreadsheet, which was made at Williams’ request by the state’s main inspector, helped to identify patients who had undergone failed abortions.

The revelation came on the second day of an administrative commission hearing that will help decide whether Planned Parenthood can keep its license to perform abortions.

The revelation from Williams, who served under former Gov. Pat McCrory, has spurred calls for his resignation. As Rewire News reported yesterday:

NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri Executive Director Mallory Schwarz said in a statement Wednesday that Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, should resign. “This insidious attack on Missourians’ constitutional rights put into plain view Williams’ coordinated efforts to force his extreme anti-choice agenda on the people of Missouri, and ultimately block them from accessing legal abortion,” Schwarz said.

Williams testified at a Tuesday hearing that he maintained a spreadsheet tracking the menstrual cycles of patients who visited the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis in an effort to find so-called failed abortions, the Kansas City Star reported. The spreadsheet included patients’ medical identification numbers and the dates of their last menstrual periods, according to the Star. Williams’ testimony was on the second day of an administrative commission hearing that will determine whether the state’s last stand-alone clinic will remain open.

“We demand his resignation, as this is clearly the only way to prevent him from continuing to wreak havoc on our health, and impose his fringe, anti-choice agenda on all Missourians,” Schwarz said.

As the Washington Post pointed out, this is not the first time that Williams has a record of controversial anti-abortion activism:

This is not the first time Williams’s actions have come under fire by reproductive health advocates. In June, Missouri ended a mandate that patients getting abortions have pelvic exams at least three days prior to the procedure, which required them to undergo multiple invasive exams just days apart.

Reproaction, an abortion and reproductive rights advocacy group, said it is collecting signatures calling on Williams to resign.

Williams also found himself in the midst of some high profile controversies during his stint in the McCrory administration. As Lisa Sorg reported in this space on more than one occasion, Williams attracted significant criticism for what many saw as his failure to act to protect North Carolinians from coal ash pollution.

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Former McCrory health director immersed in abortion rights controversy in Missouri