Monday MONITOR

Monday, April 9, 2012                                                                                                                            

Contact:  Michelle Trupiano – 573.424.8717 (c)

RESTRICTIVE WOMEN’S HEALTH BILLS SCHEDULED FOR HEARINGS AND DEBATE

     HB1541 (Jones, R-89), the Medical Denial bill, was referred to Senate General Laws Committee and will be heard Wednesday upon adjournment.

     HB1274 (Koenig, R-88), the Medication Abortion Restriction bill was approved in Rules Committee and ‘turned in’ on Thursday. It could be brought up for debate in the House this week.

     HB1490 (Frederick, R-149), originally a health practitioner credentialing bill that was amended to include restrictions to medication abortion, was sent back to Health Care Policy committee by Rules for containing too many different issues.  It is scheduled for a hearing on Wednesday.

REP. NEWMAN’S VASECTOMY BILL HEARD IN COMMITTEE

     In a legislative season where women’s reproductive health procedures are compared to surgery on farm animals, outrage over attacks on women is minimized by a comparison to attacks on caterpillars, and a bust of a shock radio personality known primarily for his unfiltered and hateful attacks on women, gays, and people of color is to be placed in the Hall of Famous Missourians, it is no wonder that a bill like HB1853 (Newman, D-73) would be filed.  This bill would “prohibit a vasectomy from being performed on a man unless it is to prevent the death or to avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the man.”

     This bill has been disparaged by women’s health detractors, but it makes a real point.  Women’s reproductive health is subject to an enormous and unwarranted barrage of restrictive laws, rules, and regulations that do not protect women or their health, but rather make it harder for women and teens to access legal, professional reproductive health care.  Rep. Newman’s bill is far-fetched, but only because the legislative leadership and anti-choice members choose only to focus on women when it comes to reproduction and sexual health.

     What is even more indicative of where the House leadership stands on women’s health is the fact that Rep. Newman’s bills regarding domestic violence, and comprehensive sex education and better access to family planning have not even been referred to committee, and her bill that would require a pharmacy to fill a valid and lawful prescription for contraception has only just been referred.  Each of these bills were filed before HB1853 and have real implications for improving the health of women and teens, yet HB1853 is the bill that the Speaker assigned to committee and that the committee chair, Rep. Vicki Schneider (R-17), chose to hear last Monday night.

APRIL IS GYT MONTH—GET YOURSELF TESTED FOR STDs

      Every year there are more than 19 million new cases of STDs in the U.S. By age 25, roughly one in two sexually active people will get one. PPMO health centers offer free or low-cost testing all year round.

     Get Yourself Tested (GYT) is a national campaign supported by a broad coalition of partners, including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, designed to address the high rates of STDs among those under 25. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that are passed from one person to another during sexual contact. STDs often have no symptoms, so many people who are infected do not even know it, and they unknowingly spread the infection to their partner. Lack of information, misconceptions or social stigma keeps many young people from getting tested. There are many kinds of STDs, and they are very common. In fact, more than half of us will get one at some point in our lives.

     Can you make it a point this month to encourage your constituents to get tested?

A LETTER FROM THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS

Springfield News Leader | March 24, 2012

     The League of Women Voters was born more than 90 years ago from the long fight to get women the right to vote. Since 1992, when league members studied health care policy, we have worked to ensure access to quality health care for all. The league also has a strong commitment and belief that public policy in a diverse society must affirm the right of individuals to make their own reproductive choices.

     That’s why the league is so deeply concerned about recent proposals that would allow employers and health plans to block contraceptive services and discriminate against women.

     By a narrow margin, the U.S. Senate recently defeated an amendment that would limit access to contraception for women if any employer or insurance plan has an undefined “religious or moral objection” to it. This open-ended invitation to cut back on preventative health care services would turn back the clock for women and for American society.

      We understand that not everyone agrees with the league on this subject. But we strongly believe that public institutions, including schools and hospitals that receive substantial federal assistance, should not limit the health care choices available to their employees. Institutions that serve the public at large should not impose their own views but should respect the conscientious decisions of each individual.

     The League of Women Voters believes that all persons, regardless of gender, should be eligible for preventive health services. Allowing employers to exclude contraceptive services is discrimination based on sex, and it’s wrong.

Allison Cash, President, League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri

PLANNED PARENTHOOD PATIENTS IN SPRINGFIELD, COLUMBIA, & ST. LOUIS FORCED TO ENDURE 40 DAYS CAMPAIGN

     During the 40 days that ended on April 1st, anti-abortion picketers camped outside Planned Parenthood health centers with signs, crosses, folding chairs, and large banners. Women coming for their well woman visit, or a pack of birth control pills, or a pap smear, were rightfully confused and upset. In St. Louis, the organizers of the campaign, dressed in orange vest with the words ‘volunteer staff’ on the back, worked hand-in-hand with the local crisis pregnancy center to play on patient confusion and to lure unsuspecting individuals into a so-called ‘medical van’ in order to provide ‘christian ministry counseling.’ The next article and audio-link illustrate how crisis pregnancy centers train staff and volunteers and about their deceptive practices.  These are the same entities that have received the imprimatur of the state of Missouri in the form of tax credits and public funding, and are now proposing a “preference in governmental contracts for person(s) who contribute to alternatives to abortion services” with HB2076 (Sommer, R-15).

     Public funds should not be used to support “clinics” that employ religiosity, misinformation, and over-blown promises of assistance to persuade women to continue their pregnancy.

ABBY JOHNSON EXPLAINS TO CPCS HOW TO USE FORCED ULTRASOUND BILLS TO LIE AND GET WOMEN IN THE DOOR

Robin Marty, RH Reality Check | April 8, 2012 - 9:20pm 

      When Idaho's anti-choice legislators proposed their mandatory ultrasound bill, one of the hopes was that women would go to crisis pregnancy centers to obtain free ultrasounds, despite the fact that those ultrasounds wouldn't count as the mandatory ultrasounds required by the bill. When asked why he was essentially proposing two different ultrasounds, the bill's sponsor, Senator Chuck Winder, seemed genuinely confused by the question, not completely positive whether he was proposing two or not.

     Now, it's a little easier to understand why he didn't know.  Anti-choice activists are purposefully trying to use ultrasounds as a means to get women who are considering abortion into crisis pregnancy centers, misleading them into thinking that they are going to receive free, necessary ultrasounds that they will need to have before they terminate their pregnancies.

     At the annual conference for crisis pregnancy centers, former Planned Parenthood employee turned anti-choice personality Abby Johnson explains to attendees how to use ultrasounds and other means to mislead women into coming into crisis pregnancy centers so they can be talked out of having abortions.

     Listen to the audio here:  http://youtu.be/b3aH8h3PWHc

PPMO editor:  The following are a just few lines of transcript from the above-linked audio:

  • “Who is your demographic?  18-20 year olds and abortion-minded clients, right?”
  • “We want to look professional, we want to look business-like and, yeah, we do kinda want to look medical, alright?”
  • “We want to appear neutral on the outside. The best call, the best client you ever get is the one that thinks they’re walking into an abortion clinic, okay?”

LOOK FOR PLANNED PARENTHOOD ADVOCATES IN THE CAPITOL – WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18 2012