Monday MONITOR

Monday, February 7, 2011                                                 Contact:  Michelle Trupiano – 573.424.8717

TAX CREDITS FOR MISLEADING CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTERS FILED

       HB385 (Faith, R-15) and SB204 (Dempsey, R-23), filed last week, would reauthorize tax credits for Crisis Pregnancy Centers and extend the sunset dates.  The Governor and leadership of the House and Senate are in the process of eliminating certain tax credits due to overwhelming budget deficits.  This tax credit program does not deserve reauthorization. Crisis Pregnancy Centers have a well documented history of misleading and misinforming women who come to them seeking honest information about pregnancy, birth control and abortion.  The state should not be placing its imprimatur on deceit and misinformation.

PROSTATE CANCER SCREENING BILL FILED BY REP. CHRIS CARTER

       HB370 (Carter, D-61) would create two prostate cancer pilot programs to provide screening, referral services, treatment and outreach.  African American men tend to be diagnosed at younger ages with more aggressive prostate cancer than men of other races. When diagnosed and treated early, however, prostate cancer survival is good.  PPMO Health Centers provide screening and referrals for prostate cancer.  This bill is a companion bill to SB38, filed by Senator Robin Wright-Jones (D-05).

ABORTION BILL TO BE HEARD IN HOUSE HEALTH CARE POLICY COMMITTEE

       HB213, filed by Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones (R-89), will be heard at noon on Wednesday in House Health Care Policy Committee.  This bill, filed in mid-January with 82 sponsors, is yet another indication the leadership and majority party in the General Assembly has no roadmap to improving our economy or creating jobs and have determined instead to focus on filing unnecessary and punitive bills on abortion.  This bill, which seeks to redefine standards used by physicians who perform abortions, adds additional reporting requirements and severe penalties. PPMO—like most Missourians—would suggest this legislative body focus on jobs, the economy, education…as the leadership indicated was its priority.

RACIST ANTI-CHOICE BILLBOARDS ARE BACK

By Pamela Merritt, RH Reality Check, February 2, 2011 - 9:18pm, Excerpted

       They’re back! Racist anti-choice billboards are popping up again in American cities, proclaiming that the most dangerous place for a black baby is in a black woman’s womb and that black children are an endangered species.  The groups behind this campaign, Radiance Foundation in partnership with state organizations that advocate against reproductive freedom, claim that they are pro-baby.  In reality, they are building an anti-choice campaign on a long-standing history of demonizing women of color by questioning our decision-making abilities and our humanity.  What is presented as pro-baby is actually anti-woman. The themes being presented through this billboard campaign are more than insulting; they are a dangerous continuation of racist attacks on black women as mothers that are all too often used to justify society’s disrespect, distrust & neglect.

       These billboards bring up questions with disturbing answers.  If the most dangerous place for a black baby is in a black woman’s womb, then how safe are black children in a black woman’s care?  If black women can’t be trusted to make decisions about our reproductive health care or intellectually process the facts within comprehensive sex education, how can we be trusted with other decisions? If black children are some sort of separate species, doesn’t that mean they aren’t equal human beings?  Through this billboard campaign “black” is once again presented as the exotic “other” and black women are defined as barbaric and unworthy of trust or respect.  Melissa Harris-Perry breaks down this history and its ramifications in her piece Bad Black Mothers in The Nation.  […]

       If the organizations behind these billboards were committed to improving healthy outcomes for black babies they would support expanding access to health care, education and economic reform, and equal pay protections for women. They would support programs that empower us to make decisions about our bodies and our lives free of restrictions and judgment.  The path to empowerment is paved by the integrity of black women and no amount of outdoor advertising will change that.  Read full article here...

THE SIEGE OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD

New York Times, Gail Collins, February 4, 2011

       As if we didn’t have enough wars, the House of Representatives has declared one against Planned Parenthood. Maybe it’s all part of a grand theme. Last month, they voted to repeal the health care law. This month, they’re going after an organization that provides millions of women with both family-planning services and basic health medical care, like pap smears and screening for diabetes, breast cancer, cervical cancer and sexually transmitted diseases.

       Our legislative slogan for 2011: Let Them Use Leeches.

       “What is more fiscally responsible than denying any and all funding to Planned Parenthood of America?” demanded Representative Mike Pence of Indiana, the chief sponsor of a bill to bar the government from directing any money to any organization that provides abortion services.

       Planned Parenthood doesn’t use government money to provide abortions; Congress already prohibits that, except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. (Another anti-abortion bill that’s coming up for hearing originally proposed changing the wording to “forcible rape,” presumably under the theory that there was a problem with volunteer rape victims. On that matter at least, cooler heads prevailed.)

       Planned Parenthood does pay for its own abortion services, though, and that’s what makes them a target. Pence has 154 co-sponsors for his bill. He was helped this week by an anti-abortion group called Live Action, which conducted a sting operation at 12 Planned Parenthood clinics in six states, in an effort to connect the clinic staff to child prostitution.

       “Planned Parenthood aids and abets the sexual abuse and prostitution of minors,” announced Lila Rose, the beautiful anti-abortion activist who led the project. The right wing is currently chock-full of stunning women who want to end their gender’s right to control their own bodies. Homely middle-aged men are just going to have to find another sex to push around.

       Live Action hired an actor who posed as a pimp and told Planned Parenthood counselors that he might have contracted a sexually transmitted disease from “one of the girls I manage.” He followed up with questions about how to obtain contraceptives and abortions, while indicating that some of his “girls” were under age and illegally in the country.

       One counselor, shockingly, gave the “pimp” advice on how to game the system and was summarily fired when the video came out. But the others seem to have answered his questions accurately and flatly. Planned Parenthood says that after the man left, all the counselors — including the one who was fired — reported the conversation to their supervisors, who called the authorities. (One Arizona police department, the organization said, refused to file a report.)

       Still, there is no way to look good while providing useful information to a self-proclaimed child molester, even if the cops get called. That, presumably, is why Live Action chose the scenario.

       “We have a zero tolerance of non-reporting anything that would endanger a minor,” said Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood. “We do the same thing public hospitals do and public clinics do.”

       But here’s the most notable thing about this whole debate: The people trying to put Planned Parenthood out of business do not seem concerned about what would happen to the 1.85 million low-income women who get family-planning help and medical care at the clinics each year. It just doesn’t come up. There’s not even a vague contingency plan.

       “I haven’t seen that they want to propose an alternative,” said Richards.

       There are tens of millions Americans who oppose abortion because of deeply held moral principles. But they’re attached to a political movement that sometimes seems to have come unmoored from any concern for life after birth.

       There is no comparable organization to Planned Parenthood, providing the same kind of services on a national basis. If there were, most of the women eligible for Medicaid-financed family-planning assistance wouldn’t have to go without it. In Texas, which has one of the highest teenage birthrates in the country, only about 20 percent of low-income women get that kind of help. Yet Planned Parenthood is under attack, and the State Legislature has diverted some of its funding to crisis pregnancy centers, which provide no medical care and tend to be staffed by volunteers dedicated to dissuading women from having abortions.

       In Washington, the new Republican majority that promised to do great things about jobs, jobs, jobs is preparing for hearings on a bill to make it economically impossible for insurance companies to offer policies that cover abortions. And in Texas, Gov. Rick Perry, faced with an epic budget crisis that’s left the state’s schools and health care services in crisis, has brought out emergency legislation — requiring mandatory sonograms for women considering abortion.

Upcoming Statewide Coalition Lobby Days:  February 22nd, March 30th, May 3rd 2011

And, look for PPMO supporters in the Capitol on Wednesday, February 9th!

 www.ppmissouri.org