February 10th, 2014
PREVENTION FIRST ACT HEARING TUESDAY
Women’s health advocates have spent hours testifying against bills that further restrict access to women’s health services, however, on Tuesday a bill designed to improve women’s health will be heard at the Children and Families Committee. It’s about time!
The Prevention First Act, HB 1528, sponsored by Rep. Stacey Newman, (D-87) St. Louis, will have a hearing at noon on Tuesday February 11th. HB1529 changes the laws regarding sex education in schools and establishes the Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies Act, the Birth Control Protection Act, and a women's health services program.
Improving access to preventive health care and supporting healthy families should be a shared goal in Missouri. If we are committed to reducing the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions in Missouri, we must get to the root of the problem through prevention programs such as: ensuring comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education in schools and communities; protecting women’s access to birth control; fighting sexually transmitted infections, and helping to plan for healthy pregnancies and healthy families.
The Prevention First Act is a collection of common sense prevention policies that encourage and facilitate responsible behavior.
DENIAL OF CARE BILL ADVANCES
On February 5th, the Denial of Care Bill, HB1430, sponsored by Speaker Tim Jones (R-110) Eureka, was voted out of the Health Care Policy Committee with a vote of 9-3. Missouri law already grants protections to individuals who refuse to provide access to safe and legal abortion. This bill unnecessarily expands the law to protect and encourage the denial of birth control (including emergency contraception to rape survivors), sterilization, assisted reproduction, and stem cell research.
TAX CREDIT INCREASE FOR PREGNANCY RESOURCE CENTERS PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE
On Tuesday February 4th, HB1132, sponsored by Rep. Engler (R-116) Farmington, was passed out of the House Ways and Means Committee by a vote of 10-2. The bill increases the amount of tax credits for contributions to Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRCs) available in each fiscal year from $2 million to $2.5 million. The state should not be using tax incentives to fund organizations that lure vulnerable women by misrepresenting their services and fail to deliver medically accurate information.
TEEN ENDANGERMENT BILLS ALSO MOVING
HB 1192 requires written Notification of BOTH Custodial Parents Prior to an Abortion. Rep. Rocky Miller (R-124) Tuscumbia, sponsored the bill which passed as a House Committee Substitute (HCS) on Wednesday February 5th. The Committee Substitute reduced the notification period from 7days to 5, and purports to place the burden of written notification onto the consenting parent.
Under the guise of increasing parental rights, The Loss of Minor’s Ability to Consent to Health Care Resolution HJR 56 could remove the ability of teens to access confidential health care.
Public Health experts such as the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Public Health Association oppose legislation that mandates parental involvement in sensitive reproductive health decisions. These groups agree that such requirements could cause medical care to be delayed, threatening a young woman’s health.
CRYSTAL BRIGMAN CELEBRATED AT ROE EVENT IN SPRNGFIELD
Planned Parenthood of Southwest Missouri held its annual Roe v. Wade anniversary celebration on Thursday, February 6th. Forty supporters in southwest Missouri gathered to meet, chat, and celebrate Crystal Brigman's eight years of service to Planned Parenthood. Supporters got fired up about legislative session by watching Roe at Risk, a documentary about the massive restrictions on reproductive rights across the country. A few lucky supporters went home with great raffle gifts like a Planned Parenthood picnic set and a ten-person tour and tasting of Mother's Brewery.
WOMEN DON'T NEED POLITICIANS TO HELP WITH ABORTION DECISIONS
Letter to the Editor~February 1st~The Maneater
I recently attended my first Senate hearing regarding Senate Bill 519, which would extend the current mandatory waiting period for an abortion from 24 to 72 hours. People in favor and opposition of this bill gave their testimony before the Judiciary committee. There were testimonies on both sides from women who had an abortion that regretted and from women who did not regret their decision. There were faith based testimonies, men and women, and young and old. At some points throughout the hearing I found myself feeling extremely frustrated, whether it be from the leading questions asked by the Judiciary committee, or the consistent undermining from the testimonies supporting the bill that implied women were somehow incapable of making proper medical decisions without the help of our politicians.
There were testimonies in favor of the bill comparing an abortion to everything from knee surgery to buying a house. And while the overarching theme of these testimonies were that abortion is a major decision in a woman’s life that requires time to make a proper decision, from what I recall, there are not 72 hour mandatory waiting periods for having knee surgery or buying a house. It appears the supporters of this bill either doubt a women’s decision-making ability within the 24 hours already required by law, or simply want to further make difficult an already emotionally, physically and mentally difficult decision.
Abortion is a controversial subject and a deeply personal and complex decision for the women making it. But I have a hard time coming to terms with the idea that a politician can make up a number on how long a woman needs to make a decision that she has probably already known the answer to well before meeting with a doctor. I’m tired of politicians doubting us women and coming between our medical decisions and us. I would encourage Boone county residents to contact Sen. Schaefer and ask him to vote no on SB519.
MEDICAID EXPANSION MUST HAPPEN IN MISSOURI
Letter to the Editor~February 1st~The Missourian
What we as citizens do for the least, we do for all. Medicaid Expansion is the only choice for Missouri. As Missouri’s Marketplace continues to positively impact the lives of many, roughly 238,427 could receive coverage and access to care through Medicaid Expansion.
As Missouri knows all too well, there is an intersection between the high number of uninsured citizens and the rising costs of uncompensated care. Many of the regular visitors who frequent emergency rooms are doing so because they do not have a means to receive preventive care. Medicaid Expansion would provide this care for many of these individuals, such as treatment for depression, diabetes, as well as services such as mammograms and pap smears.
Without Medicaid Expansion, roughly 21,816 of our fellow Missourians won’t receive treatment for depression, women will be unable to receive 4,086 mammograms and 14,134 pap smears, 12,947 of our friends and family members will go without adequate diabetic medications, and an estimated 218-700 unintended deaths will occur.
Medicaid Expansion is Missouri’s only choice. Lives will be saved and hardworking Missourians will receive preventive, sometimes life-saving procedures.
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