Monday, April 2, 2012                                                                                                                            

Contact:  Michelle Trupiano – 573.424.8717 (c)


     SB749 (Lamping, R-24) and HB1541 (Jones, R-89) were third read in their respective chambers on Thursday.  The Senate bill was approved 26 to 5 with Senators Green, Purgason, and Schaeffer absent. An emergency clause (!) was approved 25 to 6, with Senator Callahan joining the ‘no’ votes. Thanks go to Senators Chappelle-Nadal, Curls, Justus, Keaveny and Wright-Jones for rejecting this anti-women’s health bill that would allow employers to refuse to cover birth control, sterilization, or abortion in their health plans. And, special thanks go to Sen. Chappelle-Nadal for engaging in debate and inquiries for several hours on Tuesday and again yesterday, underscoring the gender-specific impact of this bill and reminding the sponsor that “if you tell me what to do with my body, then that is anti-woman.” Not coincidentally, both bills were brought up for perfection on Tuesday, anti-choice lobby day.

     In the House, members engaged in heated debate over HB1541, a bill that would allow anyone employed in a health care setting, or studying for a career in health care, to refuse to participate in any of a narrowly enumerated list of reproductive health and research procedures if it might conflict with their moral, ethical or religious beliefs. At one point, the sponsor of the bill explained his expertise in this area of health care by noting that he had spent considerable time with his father, a veterinarian, observing surgery and that the individuals crowded into the OR sometimes might disagree on a procedure.  This was perceived by many of the women in the chamber as comparing women and farm animals and elicited an angry response. The bill was ultimately approved 113 to 41 and sent to the Senate.


     After intense lobbying of key Senators, asking them to vote NO on SB749 (see above), women’s health advocates rallied by the river to voice their outrage at the legislature’s ongoing focus on anti-women initiatives and at the Speaker’s tone-deaf response to requests that a bust of Rush Limbaugh not be installed in the Hall of Famous Missourians.

     Emceed by Assistant Minority Floor Leader Tishaura Jones (D-63), who was joined by 15 of her House colleagues, ralliers heard from Cathy Sherwin, Midwest Field Communications Director, AFL-CIO, Sarah Felts, 3rd year law student and leader of Law Students for Choice at University of Missouri Columbia Law School, and Chimene Schwach, a practicing Catholic and mother of two. After the rally, advocates presented 35,000 letters to Speaker Tilley asking that he not induct Limbaugh.  Rush Limbaugh has used his radio program to insult many constituencies and, most recently, referred to women who use birth control as ‘sluts’ and ‘prostitutes’. This type of ‘infamy’ does not have a place in a hall with legends such as Sacajawea, Mark Twain, Josephine Baker, and Walter Cronkite.


Missouri contraception law: legislators approve bill allowing refusal of abortion care

HuffPost | John Celock | 03/29/2012 | excerpted

     The Republican-controlled Missouri House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill Wednesday afternoon that would allow the denial of certain medical services to women for religious reasons, following an emotional debate where the majority leader was forced to deny he compared women to farm animals. House Majority Leader Tim Jones (R-Eureka) was on the defensive following an analogy he made during discussion of the bill he sponsored. The legislation would allow medical professionals to deny services like abortion, contraception, male or female sterilization, assisted reproduction and cloning based on religious objections by medical staff. Jones talked about the need for medical teams to be on the same page during a procedure and to ensure that one team member does not object to it. 

     Jones cited a personal experience he had. "My father's a veterinarian. I grew up in operating rooms," Jones said, referring to how crowded operating rooms can be. Jones, a corporate and tax appeals attorney, also said he has spent time watching operations on humans as part of being a legislator. Rep. Susan Carlson (D-St. Louis) objected to Jones' analogy, suggesting that he was comparing women to farm animals. Carlson, who has become a leading opponent of the bill … characterized it as an "assault on women" […]

     Rush Limbaugh and his beliefs on the national contraception debate were brought up briefly during the debate by two Democratic legislators, but House Speaker Steve Tilley (R-Perryville) gaveled the references out of order saying that the House was "not discussing talk show hosts." Other Republicans asked Tilley to stop references to Limbaugh.

     The bill does not define a medical professional, a fact that concerns Democrats and Planned Parenthood officials. Paula Gianino, president of Planned Parenthood of St. Louis and southwestern Missouri, said the bill could be defined as allowing a receptionist or a billing clerk's objections to impact women's health. While Jones and his allies tried to paint the bill as pro-women, opponents started calling it a "war on women." "This is legalizing malpractice, that is wrong," said Rep. Stacy Newman (D-St. Louis). "If we are not getting accurate medical information in our time of crisis, this is a war on women."

     Jones ended the debate with an angry, minute-long speech in which he took aim at his detractors and the news media, saying they are not mentioning Republican women. He said that Missouri Republican women have been holding top positions in the House caucus and characterized the words "war on women" as "partisan, evil, cruel statements." "It is depressing and disgusting to ladies," Jones said of the Democratic arguments. "This bill has to do with protecting the religious liberties of workers."


Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer | HuffPost Science | 03/29/2012  

     The early availability of the birth control pill is responsible for roughly a third of women's wage gains since the 1960s, finds new research that adds another dimension to the debate over insurance coverage of contraception. "As the pill provided younger women the expectation of greater control over childbearing, women invested more in their human capital and careers," study researcher Martha Bailey, an economist at the University of Michigan, said in a statement. "Most affected were women with some college, who benefitted from these investments through remarkable wage gains over their lifetimes."

     Bailey and her colleagues used data on women's wages and education from the National Longitudinal Survey of Young Women, which began in 1968 and continued with 21 follow-up interviews with more than 5,000 women over the years. In this study, the researchers focused on the 4,300 or so women born between 1943 and 1954. For these women, early access to the pill varied. After birth control pills were approved for contraceptive use in healthy women in 1960, U.S. states varied as to what age unmarried women could get the pill without parental permission. In some, the age was 18, while other women had to wait until 21. Availability doubled the use of the pill among women in the 18- to 21-year-old range — a crucial time, given the beginning of college and higher education. With oral contraceptives, women no longer had to choose between investing in their careers and investing in a mate (with which came the risk of pregnancy), the researchers said.

     The result, Bailey and her colleagues report in a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper due to be published in July in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, was that women in early-access states saw a decline in their wages in their 20s as they invested in their education. By the 1980s and 1990s, though, those same women were making 8 percent more each year than their counterparts who hadn't had access to the pill so early. [7 Surprising Facts About the Pill]. Of the one-third bump in wages attributable to early access to the pill, two-thirds of that came from these women having greater workplace experience, the study found. The rest came from women gaining more education and from choosing more lucrative, traditionally male, fields.

     The study likely underestimates the role of the pill, Bailey said, given that it did not take into account the effect of pill use differences after age 20 or so. "The pill’s availability likely altered norms and expectations about marriage and childbearing," Bailey said. "It also likely affected the decisions of companies to hire and promote women."


     With anger mounting across the country against the constant attacks on women’s health—efforts to overturn the birth control coverage mandate, anti-choice ballot measures, state bills restricting access to birth control and abortion—a grassroots effort has been initiated to bring advocates to DC and to the 50 state capitols on Saturday, April 28th, almost 7 years to the day since the 1.25 million-person March on Washington for Women’s Health.  Join us in Jefferson City: