Monday, February 28, 2011 Contact: Michelle Trupiano – 573.424.8717
REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH BILL STATUS
NEW PRO-ACTIVE BILLS FILED
Senator Jolie Justus (D-10) filed the Comprehensive Sex Education Act (SB332) that would ensure Missouri youth receive medically accurate, age-appropriate, comprehensive sex education that includes abstinence, but also information about the pros and cons of contraception, and ways to protect against sexual predators online. It also ensures local control of the curriculum, materials, and presenters. This is a solid public health approach to sexual health for our youth. Senator Robin Wright-Jones (D-05) filed the Prevention First Act (SB348), a companion to HB350 (Newman). This bill contains programs and services that can safely reduce unintended pregnancies and, ultimately, the number of abortions in the state. She also introduced SB344, a Breast Cancer Prevention bill that would cover ultrasound screenings where mammograms demonstrate dense breast tissue. This is a critical step in the early diagnosis of breast cancer for many women. All three bills have been First Read. In the House, Rep. Mott Oxford (D-59) filed the Compassionate Care for Rape Emergencies bill which ensures access to emergency contraception should a female victim of sexual assault present at the Emergency Room. It was referred to committee (see above).
STATE LEGISLATORS SUPPORT PLANNED PARENTHOOD, OPPOSE CONG DEFUNDING MEASURE
Less than a week after the vote, more than 20 legislators gathered in the MO Capitol Thursday morning to speak out against votes in Congress to strip Planned Parenthood of all Federal funding, and to zero out the entire Title X family planning program for all providers, including FQHC’s, Health Departments and Community Action Agencies. Sen. Justus (D-10) spoke of her many constituents that rely on Planned Parenthood (PP) and declared she would do everything in her power to defend PP “even if I am the last Senator standing,” a sentiment shared by others who spoke. Rep. Newman (D-73) spoke as the mother of a teenage daughter who is thankful PP is there for young adults. Lisa Sanning, a PP patient for the past 26 years, spoke to the high quality of preventive services provided and spoke on behalf of all the women that rely on PP as their only source of healthcare. Rep. Jones (D-63)—who that evening brought the crowd to its feet at the PP Town Hall Summit in St. Louis—stated simply: “Planned Parenthood saved my life!” She described how PP diagnosed her HPV and stated if it wasn’t for the care she received she might have contracted cervical cancer. Farilyn Hale, President of NCJW—St. Louis Section, spoke on behalf of the more than 25 Missouri organizations (and the list is growing), that are standing with PP. Rep. Still (D-25) stated that PP does more than any other organization in the world to reduce the number of abortions and that cutting their funding “was just absurd.” Finally, Rep. Kirkton (D-91)—a nurse—who denounced this ‘ideological terrorism’ was joined by Reps. McNeill (D-78), Pace (D-70) and others who underscored just how important PP is to the community.
OUTPOURING OF PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR PLANNED PARENTHOOD & OUTRAGE AT CONGRESS
Despite bad weather in Kansas City on Thursday afternoon, Sen. McCaskill addressed a standing room only audience, many sporting ‘I Stand With PP’ stickers, and made clear her strong support of Planned Parenthood and the importance of prevention services in decreasing unintended pregnancies; the crowd roared in support. That evening, more than 100 fired-up supporters attended the St. Louis PP Summit and heard from PP leaders, health professionals, and elected officials about the critical role PP plays in the community. On Saturday, nearly 30 student supporters in Springfield stood outside the “Lincoln Days” GOP convention to show their support for Planned Parenthood holding “I Stand With Planned Parenthood" and "Don't Take Away My Birth Control…My Cancer Screenings…My Breast Exams" signs. To the sound of supportive, passing ‘honks’, they demonstrated their disappointment that Reps. Hartzler and Long took such shortsighted votes against vital, lifesaving services. On the corner of S. Grand and Arsenal in St. Louis that same day, an energized group of young adults and choice supporters loudly demonstrated their support for PP as part of the national Walk For Choice movement. And, in the online world, 695,000 supporters—more than half of them new—signed the Open Letter to Congress, 30,000 new visitors joined us on Facebook, and #standwithPP went viral. Be sure to visit: www.istandwithplannedparenthood.org
FIRST PRO-CHOICE LOBBY DAY OF SESSION A FRESHMAN SUCCESS!
Close to 40 pro-choice/pro-prevention supporters hit the MO Capitol on Tuesday, lead by Faith Aloud, met with 29 freshmen, and left information for 20 more who were unavailable in person. The goal of the day was to understand where the freshman class members stand on issues of sex education and access to birth control and emergency contraception. The meetings were extremely productive. Several representatives indicated a willingness to talk more about sex education in schools despite beliefs that parents should be the primary educators, a position which Planned Parenthood supports when families are good communicators; PP firmly supports sex education in public and charter schools to ensure all youth received accurate and timely information.
CLINIC PROVIDES VALUABLE HEALTH CARE
Springfield News Leader, February 27, 2011, Letter to the Editor—J.J. Kearbey, Springfield
I find it appalling, but not surprising, that our Congressman Billy Long has taken it upon himself to sign a bill that would not only defund Planned Parenthood, but also several community organizations as well. By fighting against women's choices in health, he is also fighting citizens' choices in health as well.
What Title X does not only helps Planned Parenthood with funding, but other community health centers and even university health centers. Long is looking past the real issues here. Yes, abortion is a hot-button issue. But anyone who has ever been to our local Planned Parenthood knows that that is not the only service that the organization provides (only two PP clinics in Missouri provide abortions).
The services our clinic provides are flu shots, preventive screenings for breast and cervical cancer, testing for men, and yes, even birth control. Instead of focusing on the personal choices of others, he should spend his time in Congress finding a way to cut down on unemployment in our state so we can get back on our feet again. ... I guess it's no surprise that he finds us too ignorant to make our own choices and feels it necessary to try to defund necessary and valuable community resources.