Monday MONITOR

Monday, March 14, 2011                                                 Contact:  Michelle Trupiano – 573.424.8717

GOVERNMENT INTRUSION BILL HEARD ON HOUSE FLOOR

       HB213 (Jones, R-89), an abortion restriction bill that creates morally inappropriate and medically dubious  new Government Intrusion in the doctor-patient relationship and the practice of medicine, was debated on the House floor on Wednesday for close to two hours, then laid over without a vote. This bill would override the current law governing rarely sought abortions later in pregnancy.  Missouri physicians already meet rigorous standards when evaluating the potential viability of the pregnancy and health condition of the pregnant woman.

       Current law bans all abortions after viability unless the physician determines that a woman’s life or health is in danger. With HB213, legislators ignore medical science and the current viability standards and instead write their own ambiguous and vague standards that undermine the physician’s judgment and remove the woman completely from further medical decisions. Women facing medically complex pregnancies with severe fetal indications often have no knowledge of the complications until 20+ weeks gestation. In rare and tragic circumstances, such as Twin-to-Twin Transfusion or loss of amniotic fluid, continuing a wanted pregnancy may cause harm to one or both fetuses or pose other significant risks, yet not meet the health endangerment description in HB213.  In this situation, HB 213 would prohibit a physician from terminating the life of one fetus in order to save the other, and would mandate that the physician exclude the woman and her loved ones from the decision. HB213—and its companion SB65 (Mayer, R-25) which is on the Senate Perfection calendar—does nothing to reduce unintended pregnancies, but it does compound the tragedy for women with wanted, but medically complex, pregnancies and the fear that physicians may be sent to prison for the care they provide [see article on back]. The House and Senate should reject these bills.

PREVENTION GETS A HEARING!  BUT WILL IT SEE ACTION? 

       On Wednesday, House Children & Families heard HB636 (Mott-Oxford, D-59) Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies.  In emotional and extremely compelling testimony, Pat V told the story of the rape and subsequent pregnancy of her developmentally disabled daughter. Immediately after the rape in 1999, Pat and her daughter were told the pregnancy test was negative.  It was not until her daughter was at 20 weeks gestation—and only because she saw her in the shower—that Pat realized her daughter was pregnant. The pregnancy compounded the daughter’s medical situation and her physicians recommended an abortion.  Had emergency contraception been available to her daughter immediately after the rape, this terrible situation could have been avoided. HB636 would ensure access to emergency contraception for women who present at an emergency room as a result of sexual assault. This bill deserves full floor debate.

RESTRICTIVE BILLS—AS USUAL—ADVANCE

       While it is unclear whether any tax credit bills will pass this year, HB385 (Faith, R-15) Tax Credits for CPCs was heard in House Economic Development on Tuesday. Committee members were rude and hostile to witnesses against the bill.  When evidence of the deceptive and misleading tactics of CPCs was shared with the committee—something PPMO believes taxpayers would not want to support—the Chair ruled the arguments “irrelevant” and allowed a committee member to describe the testimony as “offensive.” HCS HB483 (Cox, R-118) a Duplicate Reporting Bill, that would require any provider that provides or refers for abortions—including all Title X family planning agencies—to report how all Federal funds are spent. Federal funds to providers are already reported and expenditures well documented.  Rather than duplicating the role of Federal bureaucrat, the Missouri General Assembly should focus on decreasing unintended pregnancies and on the issues that voters want them to resolve—the economy, jobs, and education. And, HB28/328 (Sater, R-68 & Koenig, R-88)—Pharmacy Denial & Medication Abortion Ban—was sent to Rules Committee.  All three bills should be rejected.

HEARTACHE SHARED TO HELP OTHERS

Excerpted from the Omaha World-Herald  |  Martha Stoddard  |  March 7, 2011

       LINCOLN — Danielle Deaver would have stood on her head in a freezer if it could have saved her baby’s life. Parents do that kind of thing. But extreme measures wouldn’t have mattered for the Grand Island, Neb., woman and the child she carried last year.

       That baby was doomed when Deaver’s water broke the day after Thanksgiving…

       …Deaver had four months to go in her pregnancy when she lost most of the amniotic fluid that cushions the fetus and helps its development, she said in an interview Sunday. Doctors told the Deavers the loss of fluid stopped the baby’s lung development and would lead to deformities of the head and limbs. Their baby was given less than a 10 percent chance of surviving delivery; less than a 2 percent chance of ever managing basic functions, like eating.

       “The odds were awful,” Danielle Deaver said. “It just wasn’t there.” But devastating as that blow had been, what followed turned out to be at least as excruciating. The Deavers thought over the possibilities and made a decision. They didn’t want to continue putting their unborn baby through what they feared was agony, so they asked the doctors to induce labor early. “We were seeking to have the inevitable happen,” Danielle Deaver said. “We in no way, shape or fashion were seeking an abortion.”

       But they were soon told the Nebraska abortion law stood in their way. The law, which took effect in October, bans abortions at 20 weeks after fertilization… Previous state law followed the standard set by the U.S. Supreme Court. It banned abortions after a fetus could survive outside the womb, typically about 22 weeks after fertilization. The new law permits abortions in the later months of pregnancy only to protect a woman’s life or prevent major physical problems. In the eyes of the law, giving medication to induce labor at that stage of pregnancy would be an abortion. Since Deaver was healthy and the baby still had a heartbeat, they didn’t fit the exceptions in the law.

       Specialists at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the couple’s primary care doctor in Hastings, Neb., agreed that they could risk their medical licenses and prison time if they did the procedure, so the Deavers were sent home to wait. Danielle Deaver was told to watch for signs of infection, a potential complication of losing amniotic fluid. And she agonized every time she felt the baby move, knowing that the child no longer had any protection from the uterine muscles. “I told Robb I don’t know what to pray for,” she recalled. “Do I pray for a miracle or do I pray that I get sick enough that we can end this?”  

       Deaver finally went into labor on her own on Dec. 7. The baby, named Elizabeth, was born the next day at 3 p.m., weighing 1 pound, 10 ounces. The Deavers took turns holding her while she gasped for air. But her undeveloped lungs could not inflate and no ventilator could have made a difference.

       Elizabeth was pronounced dead at 3:15 p.m. The Deavers cremated her and had a family service… “We should have been able to make this decision,” Danielle Deaver said. “This was not about abortion or politics or anything. This was about two parents being able to make an excruciating decision.”

       Robb Deaver said he doesn’t believe Nebraska lawmakers considered all the possibilities when they passed last year’s law. And the couple are urging lawmakers in other states to slow down before following in Nebraska’s footsteps...

I STAND WITH PLANNED PARENTHOOD

       Support for PP in the fight against de-funding our prevention services has spread rapidly across the country.  Last Tuesday evening, despite torrential rain, more than 70 advocates—the majority first-time PP activists—showed their support outside the Columbia, MO Health Center by holding signs and chanting. And, the Planned Parenthood Truth Tour—conducted from a bright pink Stand With Planned Parenthood bus—hit 6 states (IL, OH, PA, NY, RI, NH) in four days to counter the lies brought to these communities by extreme groups behind the dangerous campaign to bar PP from receiving Federal funds.  In each community, PP supporters came to Stand With Planned Parenthood and tell the truth.  In just the four days of the Truth Tour, Planned Parenthood health centers provided:  44,937 STD tests; 10,278 Pap smears; 9,432 breast exams; 26,442 birth control scripts; and served 18,112 Title X patients.  These are the preventive services Congress is seeking to defund.

       Activities in support of Planned Parenthood and against these outrageous efforts to strip Planned Parenthood of these prevention funds are planned for Congressional Recess Week—March 19-27.  Go to www.ppmissouri.org to learn about events in your area.  Then, sign up!

AND, DON’T FORGET TO JOIN US FOR…

THE SECOND PRO-CHOICE COALITION LOBBY DAY—WEDNESDAY MARCH 30 2011

 www.ppmissouri.org