Monday MONITOR

Monday, April 23, 2012                                                                                                                            

Contact:  Michelle Trupiano – 573.424.8717 (c)

ABORTION RESTRICTION AND MEDICAL & BIRTH CONTROL REFUSAL BILLS CONTINUE TO MOVE

     At least 17 restrictive bills have been filed this session, most of which have been given hearings and are moving.

     HB1274 (Koenig, R-88), the medication abortion restriction bill, was given final approval in the House on Thursday on a 109-24 vote, with 16 pro-choice members absent. Rep. Morgan (D-39) attempted to add an amendment but  was ruled out of order. This bill creates two-tier access to abortion and is extremely burdensome to women and to providers (see article on back).

     SB657 (Rupp, R-02), the Senate Medical Refusal bill, was brought to the floor for debate on Wednesday for about 40 minutes.  Senators Justus (D-10) and Callahan (D-11) controlled the debate, and our reproductive health champions were in their seats and prepared to speak. HB1541 (Jones, R-89), the House companion, was heard in Senate General Laws on April 11, and was opposed by: the ACLU-EM; the Civil Council of Greater KC; the MO Chamber; MHA; St. Luke’s Health System; BJC Healthcare; Cox Health; and, Hospital Corporation of America. Supporters included the usual witnesses—MO Family Policy Council, MCC, AUL, Sam Lee, and MO-RTL.

     SB749 (Lamping, R-24), the Birth Control Refusal bill, was referred to the House Health Insurance Committee and is set for a hearing on Tuesday at noon.

     HB1890 (Molendorp, R-123), a Health Insurance Coverage bill that tackles three important issues—infertility treatments, eating disorders, and oral treatments for cancer—was burdened with an unnecessary and unconnected abortion restriction amendment.  Rep. Koenig (R-88) added the requirement that a physician that administers medication abortion must secure liability insurance coverage of $1 million/$3 million.  Rep. Tishaura Jones (D-63) called a point of order that the amendment went beyond the scope of the bill, but was over-ruled. The amendment passed by a vote of 105 to 40 and the bill was perfected and sent to Fiscal Review.

     HB1278 (Long, R-134), CPC Tax Credits, was heard Thursday in Senate Ways and Means.  And HB1357 (Gatschenberger, R-13), a bill to protect CPCs from regulation, was referred to Rules.

OVER THE TOP AND OUT OF CONTROL

     Last week, the Missouri House moved three additional bills that underscore just how out of touch the leadership remains with the real concerns of Missourians: jobs, education, and healthcare.

     On Wednesday, HB2076 (Sommer, R-15) was heard in House Children and Families Committee. This bill establishes a preference in governmental contracts for individuals or organizations that contribute to an ‘Alternatives to Abortion’ supported organization, like a Crisis Pregnancy Center, or to the ‘ATA Support Fund’. This is one more avenue for taxpayer funds to support and subsidize organizations that mislead, misinform, and scare women into continuing pregnancies and sounds like ‘pay-to-play’.

     Also on Wednesday, HB2051 (Cookson, R-153) was referred to the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee. This bill would eliminate discussions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in public schools, prohibit teachers from addressing bullying based on sexual orientation, and likely ban gay-straight alliances. The bill, in its entirety, states: 170.370. Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, no instruction, material, or extracurricular activity sponsored by a public school that discusses sexual orientation other than in scientific instruction concerning human reproduction shall be provided in any public school. It is difficult to understand how comprehensive sex education could ever be taught in a public school with this law in effect. If passed, this would have a distinct chilling effect.

     And, on Thursday, the House approved, and sent to the Senate, HB1534 (Bahr, R-19).  This bill declares the national health care reform law—the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—unconstitutional, and criminalizes Federal employees who work to enforce the law.

CECILE RICHARDS NAMED ONE OF TIME MAGAZINE'S 100 MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE IN THE WORLD

One of Only 10 People to be Named to Prestigious List for Second Year in a Row

Press Release | April 18, 2012 | PPFA | excerpted

     For the second year in a row, TIME magazine has named Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), to the 2012 TIME 100, the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. The full list and related tributes appear in the April 30 issue of TIME, available on newsstands on Thursday, April 19, and now at www.time.com/time100

     Richards is one of the most recognized and respected figures in the field of women’s health and reproductive rights. As president of PPFA and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Richards leads a dynamic organization, with an affiliate network that provides high-quality, affordable health care services to nearly three million women, men and teens each year. PPFA also provides sexual health information at plannedparenthood.org, which receives more than 33 million visits each year. Richards is one of only 10 people named to the list for the second year in a row. Others include U.S. President Barack Obama, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel.

     “I am thrilled to once again accept this honor on behalf of generations of women who have stood with Planned Parenthood as the health centers have delivered preventive health care to nearly three million patients across the country,” Richards said. “Amidst the unprecedented assault on access to basic health care over the past year, Planned Parenthood has never wavered in our commitment to protecting women’s health and providing access to lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, and sex education. In this critical election year where women’s health is being used as a political football, support for our work is more crucial than ever before.” [more]

MISSOURI ATTEMPTS TO COMBINE RU-486 RULES WITH TRAP LAW TO CREATE SUPERTRAP

Robin Marty, RH Reality Check | April 18, 2012

     In Mississippi, the state passed a TRAP law so onerous that the only clinic that provides abortions may have to shut down. Now Missouri has decided to join the fight by creating so many regulations around a medical abortion that no doctor may be able to meet all of the criteria. Yes, it's a superTRAP. The bill endorsed by the House would require a doctor — not a nurse or other medical professional — to perform a physical examination of the woman at least 24 hours before prescribing the abortion-inducing drug mifepristone, commonly known as RU-486.

     The legislation would require the physician administering RU-486 to have clinical privileges at a nearby hospital, as well as privileges to intervene with surgery if necessary at a hospital or the abortion clinic where the drug was given. It also would require physicians who prescribe abortion-inducing drugs to carry an additional medical malpractice insurance policy of at least $1 million per occurrence and $3 million annually for injury or death of a child born alive after an attempted abortion. Apparently the amendment requiring that the doctor wear rainbow-striped underwear when administering the drug was voted down. That's a joke. For now.

     The new law isn't likely to immediately effect the cost of a first trimester abortion, as the procedure costs the same regardless of whether it is done with medication or surgery.  But by cutting down the number of doctors who can provide medical abortions, as well as slowing down the process by creating a rule restricting who can do the initial exam for a medical abortion, the bill could force more women to wait until later in their pregnancies to terminate, then increasing both the costs and risks.

     "It's essentially setting up a two-tiered system for abortions," said Michelle Trupiano, statewide lobbyist for Planned Parenthood Kansas and Mid-Missouri.  According to Trupiano, all abortions currently have the same set of pre-procedure requirements, including who does the initial exam, regardless of what procedure is being employed.  By requiring the doctor to perform the exam for a patient who is going to use RU-486, the legislature is placing additional burdens on women seeking medical abortions rather than surgical. The legislature is actually putting more restrictions on providing medical abortions than on providing surgical terminations.

     As for requiring any doctor who gives RU-486 to have surgical privileges? "There is absolutely no need for someone following the medical procedures to need surgical privileges in a hospital within 30 miles," said Trupiano. "Not all of our doctors would be able to get them. It's an absolutely burdensome regulation." The obvious intention is to put in so many rules, regulations and requirements that a doctor will be unable to provide a woman with RU-486 without putting his or her career in jeopardy, and to make it too expensive for a doctor to provide medical abortions at all.  This new law has the potential to in essence ban medical abortions all together. Legislators are writing the right to a legal, safe and non-bankrupting abortion out of law. 

     This is just the first superTRAP law, and if it goes unopposed, it will not be the last.

WATCH FOR REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH ADVOCATES IN THE CAPITOL—WEDNESDAY, MAY 2, 2012