Monday MONITOR

Monday, April 18, 2011                                                 Contact:  Michelle Trupiano – 573.424.8717

UPDATE: MISSOURI BILLS MOVING

       HCS HB213 (Jones, R-89), the Government Intrusion bill, will be heard on Tuesday at 1:30pm in Senate General Laws Committee, chaired by Sen. Jane Cunningham. This bill does not include the amendments that are in SS SCS SB65 (Mayer, R-25), which has now moved to the House. We anticipate SB65 will receive a hearing, possibly this week, in House Health Care Policy Committee to which it was referred last week.  While the Senate amendments remove some of the onerous content, these bills still focus on rarely sought abortions that are typically performed in cases of wanted pregnancies that have developed severe medical complications.  These decisions must be left to the woman and her physician.

       HCS HB28 (Sater, R-68), the Medical Abortion and Pharmacy Denial bill, was referred to Senate Health, Mental Health, Seniors, and Families Committee. A hearing has not yet been scheduled and should not be scheduled.  This bill adds burdensome requirements for women and providers to accessing early, medical abortions and to birth control that are not medically indicated.  This bill should be rejected.

CONGRESSIONAL UPDATE

SENATE REJECTS MEASURE TO DEFUND PLANNED PARENTHOOD

April 14, 2011 | NBC News | Carrie Dann/Kelly O’Donnell

       As expected, the Senate has voted down a measure to defund Planned Parenthood, with five Republicans voting with Democrats to keep the funding in place.  The vote was 42-58.  Republicans voting against the stand-alone resolution to defund Planned Parenthood were: Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine.  The same resolution passed the House earlier today by a vote of 241 to 185. Seven House Republicans voted to keep the Planned Parenthood funding, while 10 Democrats voted to eliminate it. 

       The budget agreement completed last Friday included a deal to eliminate a “rider” attached to the must-pass funding bill that would have cut  “Title X” funding for women’s health organizations that also conduct abortions.  

HOLDING WOMEN'S HEALTH HOSTAGE: THE SEQUEL

HuffPost | Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America | Posted: 04/13/11

       The greatest nation on earth nearly had to turn off the lights last week. Please take note of the reason. It wasn't because of terrorism. It wasn't the aftermath of a tsunami or an earthquake. And it certainly was not -- despite some claims -- because of a financial crisis. No. The most powerful nation on the planet nearly went out of business because a few fringe members of Congress wanted to show off their spite for Planned Parenthood. The sideshow seemed finished Friday night, when President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stood firm for women's health and the House leadership folded a losing hand.

       Just days later, the small band of believers (House leadership in tow) are back with a fresh attack on Planned Parenthood. This week, at the insistence of House Speaker John Boehner, the House and Senate will vote on a stand-alone version of the same measure that Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana tried to link to last week's short-term spending plan. The measure would explicitly bar one of the nation's oldest, most trusted and most cost-effective family-planning providers from participating in any federal health program. Period. Pence and his allies claim the measure would somehow reduce federal support for abortion, but the public now knows this is a ruse. Congress has prohibited federal funding for abortion for more than 30 years. This measure would cut off access to birth control -- thus increasing the need for abortion -- while also eliminating lifesaving cancer screenings and other vital services. That's not just aggressive. It's bad for women's health.

       The Planned Parenthood Mike Pence wants to eliminate looks nothing like the Planned Parenthood that three million patients rely on each year. One American woman in five has received care from a Planned Parenthood health center. Abortion -- a safe, legal procedure -- makes up three percent of our services, not the "well over 90 percent" that Senator Jon Kyl recently claimed on the Senate floor and later had to retract. The rest of our services are basic preventive health care -- affordable, high-quality care that helps avert serious illness rather than treat it at advanced stages. Each year we provide nearly two million screenings to detect breast and cervical cancer early. We also provide nearly four million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including half a million HIV tests. And we ensure that nearly 2.5 million people have access to affordable birth control, which reduces unintended pregnancy.

       What would Pence's proposal mean to the women we serve? Two thirds of them, the two million whose care is covered by Medicaid and other federal health programs, would lose all access to our health centers. And because Planned Parenthood is the only provider available to many of these women, the loss would be more than an inconvenience. Cutting off our services would amount to cutting off their health care, with tragic and predictable outcomes: more cancer deaths, more undiagnosed HIV and untreated STDs, and more unintended pregnancies, which means more abortion.

       Why would anyone pursue such an agenda? Pence may spin this as an effort to control federal spending, but it's nothing of the kind. In fact, his proposal would cost the government money. Family planning saves taxpayers nearly $4 for every $1 invested. Destroying family planning would eliminate those savings, and locking Planned Parenthood out of federal programs would make the programs themselves less efficient. We provide high-quality care for less money than other publicly funded providers charge. If all of our three million patients had to get preventive health care from other publicly funded providers, the total cost could rise by as much as $200 million a year.

       The recent assault on Planned Parenthood, a 95-year-old organization, has provoked a powerful backlash. Women and men from every community have come forward in vast numbers to stand with us, and reasonable policymakers from both sides of the aisle have paid attention. Continuing these senseless attacks is not only wrongheaded but politically foolish. An April 11 poll by CNN shows that 65 percent of Americans favor continued support for Planned Parenthood. And why wouldn't they? The attack on Planned Parenthood shows indifference to women's health. If adopted, it will deny millions of women access to cancer screenings and birth control. In many communities, it will eliminate a provider of affordable, high-quality care. And it will hit women and families struggling in this economy especially hard.

       It's time to end this political vendetta. It's wasting valuable time when our congressional leaders should be focused on getting folks back to work. America has real problems to address, and voters know what they are. The House leadership needs to part ways with these extremists and get back to the business of governing.

CONGRESSIONAL ATTACKS ON PLANNED PARENTHOOD: FIGHTING BACK, STATE BY STATE 

       Over the past few months, Planned Parenthood supporters have been heard all across the country.  Opposition to extreme legislative proposals to bar Planned Parenthood from providing preventive and lifesaving health care through federal health programs has generated a flood of local media attention, highlighting the importance of Planned Parenthood in communities nationwide. Local newspapers and local leaders from around the country have stood with Planned Parenthood by publishing editorials, op-eds, and letters-to-the-editor underscoring the importance of Planned Parenthood health centers to the communities they serve. Through public participation — including local rallies and signatures on an open letter to Congress — Americans have sent a clear message to their elected officials, urging them to reject political attacks on women’s health and asking them to stand with Planned Parenthood.

       To see the impact that Planned Parenthood supporters and local media coverage have had in our communities, click on the map.

MISSOURI WOMEN STAND WITH PLANNED PARENTHOOD

       I was 20 years old, very likely pregnant and so scared that I had not told a soul. I was living on campus, 500 miles away from family, 800 miles away from my boyfriend. I had heard about Planned Parenthood from friends, who had been there for birth control. I got on a bus and went downtown. I remember the staff in that clinic as kind and non-judgmental. It was a warm, caring, respectful place. A nurse, full of concern, sat and talked quietly with me, gave me the news and asked if I knew what I wanted to do. For me there was no decision to make. I was having a baby. My daughter has been the best thing in a life full of many good things. I will always support Planned Parenthood. For me, it is about another 20 year old girl in the future, maybe my daughter or granddaughter, feeling very alone and needing a place to go where she will be treated with dignity and respect, to make a life decision that is best for her.  Alice, Lee’s Summit

 www.ppmissouri.org