Monday MONITOR

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

TWO BILLS HEARD IN COMMITTEE

       HB483 (Cox, R-118), a Title X (already) Reporting Bill, was heard in House Children and Families on Wednesday morning. The bill requires providers of abortion services and the 22 Title X family planning providers in Missouri to report to MO-DHSS how all Title X funds are spent.The catch? All of this information is already public and—despite what the sponsor wishes to believe—no Title X funds are spent on abortion services.  Connie Cunningham, executive director of the Missouri Family Health Council, told the Columbia Missourian "We sign the assurance with the Federal government that no Title X dollars will be used for abortion, and we take that very seriously because, if anything ever happened, that would put our funding in jeopardy."  She also noted that this bill seems to be part of a larger “anti Planned Parenthood initiative.”  Title X funds pay for life-saving cancer screenings, birth control, STD treatment, and other preventive services.  This bill is redundant, disingenuous, and does not merit a vote.

       At noon on Wednesday, the House Healthcare Policy Committee heard HB328 (Koenig, R-88), the Medication Abortion Restriction bill. Dr. Ed Weisbart, a family practice physician with significant experience in the area of evidence-based medicine and a member of MSMA, AMA, AAFP, and ACPE, focused on three specific and perhaps unintentional problems with the bill.  First, many medications are routinely used ‘off label’ after rigorous evidence-based study.  HB328 would drive providers away from best clinical practices towards an outdated protocol with potentially increased risk to the woman.  Current off label protocol is standard of care as endorsed by both ACOG and WHO, and is safer than the labeled procedure. Secondly, it inappropriately intrudes on the physician scope of practice and threatens to micro-manage physician practice in areas where the legislature has no expertise.  Thirdly, requiring surgical privileges and an exorbitantly high level of malpractice insurance would make it impossible for most physicians to perform a medication abortion. Unfortunately, while this committee had the benefit of hearing from, and questioning, medical professionals (a separate memo was provided to committee members by a second physician), the original bill was attached to HB28 in Children and Families and voted ‘do pass’ without that committee ever holding a hearing.  HB28&328 should not be sent to Rules; it should be shelved.

UPCOMING ACTIONS THIS WEEK

       HB213 (Jones, R-89), a Government Intrusion bill, may be heard on the House floor early this week. Like so many other anti-abortion bills, HB213 ignores medical science, clinical standards, and current law that prohibit abortions after viability except in extremely narrow circumstances.  This new bill creates vague and ambiguous standards that will be difficult, if not impossible, for a physician to understand and that may leave the woman a by-stander to her own healthcare.  In the case of severe fetal anomaly, which is typically not identified until later in the pregnancy, the woman will have absolutely no say in healthcare decisions that impact her health, her future, and her family, and the physician would be required to ignore her wishes. Should a woman be diagnosed with, for example, Twin-to-Twin transfusion the physician would not—under this bill—be allowed to perform a selective termination of one fetus to save the other. The legislature should not be micro-managing physician practice, nor interfering in the physician-patient relationship, and would help women and families more by focusing on prevention programs that can reduce unintended pregnancies.  Please vote NO on this intrusive and dangerous bill.

       HB636 (Mott Oxford, D-59), the Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies (CARE) Act, will be heard in House Children and Families on Wednesday at 8am.  This bill would ensure that a woman who presents at the Emergency Room as the result of a sexual assault would be given information regarding emergency contraception and provided the contraceptive if she asks.  EC is a time-sensitive medication that, if taken within 120 hours of unprotected sex, is highly effective in preventing a pregnancy.  Rape victims should not be victimized by a rapist and then, for a second time, by a discriminatory hospital protocol.

PROTECT TITLE X

Letter to the Editor, Kansas City Star, 2.27.2011

       Rep. Mike Pence’s “Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act” would have a devastating effect on women’s health care across the country. Title X funding provides family planning, annual exams, cancer screenings, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections — all services provided by Planned Parenthood.

       More than 90 percent of the health care services offered by Planned Parenthood are preventative, and Title X helps fund those types of services, making them affordable for low income women. In many rural areas this is the only place women have to go for family planning services. Title X services are incredibly effective, helping to prevent nearly one million unintended pregnancies each year, almost half of which would otherwise end in abortion.

       Title X has played a critical role in our nation’s health care system for more than 40 years. Rep. Mike Pence’s proposed bill is a clear attack on women’s reproductive rights and Planned Parenthood.

       I encourage all to tell their representatives this bill is extremely counterproductive. It will increase not only the number of unintended pregnancies, but also the number of abortions in the United States — the exact opposite of what Planned Parenthood and their opposition want.  Ali Haynes, Lenexa

THE WAR ON WOMENS FUTURES

Melissa Harris-Perry | March 3, 2011 | The Nation

       Using small-government, libertarian rhetoric, the Tea Party ushered in a new crop of Republican leaders under the banner of fiscal responsibility. But the aggressive anti-choice legislation coming from the new GOP majority in the House makes perfectly clear that belt-tightening deficit reduction is entirely compatible with an older social agenda committed to pushing American women out of the public sphere.

       These initiatives are well coordinated and poised to make an enormous impact on women’s lives. House Republicans, joined by ten Democrats, passed Mike Pence’s bill to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which in addition to pregnancy termination provides basic reproductive healthcare, STD testing, birth control and cancer screenings to millions of American women. The Republican Party has also proposed eliminating more than $1 billion from Head Start’s budget. As a result, 157,000 children may go without preschool care.

       Meanwhile, the South Dakota legislature has considered a bill justifying homicide in the case of imminent harm to a fetus, a law that critics believe may in effect legalize the murder of abortion providers. Republicans in Arizona have proposed different birth certificates for children born to women who are not US citizens in order to nullify the birthright citizenship established by the Fourteenth Amendment. And Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is poised to eliminate most of the collective bargaining rights of public employees, including nurses, teachers and other pink-collar workers who are disproportionately women.

       These may seem like disparate policy efforts, but they are not. They are the product of the ethnic and economic anxieties of conservative white Americans whose determination to "take our country back" has been a rallying cry since Barack Obama’s election. Women’s bodies and lives are the terrain on which this conservative movement is making its stand. […]

       Today’s conservatives […] seek to define women’s citizenship as rooted in motherhood, and they are prepared to use state power to enforce this vision. But even a brief glance around the world tells us that nations that oppress women into lives of compulsory motherhood are weak, not strong. Afghanistan, Angola, Congo, El Salvador and Indonesia severely restrict abortion. They are also countries where women are raped with impunity and victimized by domestic violence, where education gender gaps are enormous and where women’s labor brings only poverty wages. Meanwhile, Denmark, Australia, the Netherlands and Sweden boast some of the most open abortion laws, the most supportive family benefits and many of the best conditions for women in the world. American women may not yet recognize the war being waged on their future, but we must awaken to it immediately. The stakes for women—and for the nation—are too high to ignore it.  Read full article here:  http://www.thenation.com/article/158981/war-womens-futures

MISSOURI VOTERS OPPOSE BARRING FEDERAL FUNDS FROM PLANNED PARENTHOOD

       New poll results conducted by PPFA (conducted by Public Policy Polling, with a margin of error +/-3.6%) show clear opposition in Missouri to recent efforts to bar Planned Parenthood from participating in Federally funded initiatives.  Fifty percent disagree with cutting Federal funding to PP Health Centers.  More specifically, 62% oppose cutting funds for breast cancer screenings, 60% for cervical cancer screenings and STD testing and treatment, and 56% disagree with cutting funds for birth control.  These results mirror those found in two independent polls— Quinnipiac University and NBC/Wall Street Journal—both also released last week.

PRO-CHOICE COALITION LOBBY DAY—WEDNESDAY MARCH 30 2011

 www.ppmissouri.org