Monday MONITOR

Monday, May 16, 2011                                                                                                      

Contact:  Michelle Trupiano – 573.424.8717

CAN THE MISSOURI LEGISLATURE SPELL ANYTHING OTHER THAN  ‘POLITICS AS USUAL’?

       If there were any lingering questions about the way abortion continues to be used as a political football in Jefferson City, they were surely put to rest last Thursday.  The Missouri House debated and approved—not once, but twice—two identical versions of the same Government Intrusion bill, SB65 (Mayer, R-25) and HB213 (Jones, R-89).  In between the rhetorical rants and chest-beating outrage of anti-choice leaders, the reality of women’s lives was completely over-ridden.  What these ideological, anti-abortion, anti-woman, insensitive arguments continue to ignore is that some women do not learn until they are at least 20 weeks pregnant that they have such medical complications as to leave their fetus unlikely to survive birth, or one fetus in a multiple pregnancy could fatally impact the survival of the others, or their anencephalic fetus may survive birth but with no hope of living into infancy.  Yet, according to the ‘health’ exception as it is now defined, the pregnant woman would likely be forced to continue the pregnancy and would have no say in the decision. Medical complications are neither political, nor partisan; they can impact anyone.

       Shame on the MO General Assembly for continuing its annual invasion of the doctor:patient relationship.

MISSOURI LEGISLATURE BYPASSES PREVENTION VOTES FOR MORE ABORTION RESTRICTIONS

Politicians Intrude on Doctor/Patient Relationship and Harm Women’s Health

Planned Parenthood affiliates in Missouri press release | Thursday, May 12, 2011

       Jefferson City, MO – Today, the Missouri Legislature gave final approval to two identical additional restrictive abortion bills (HB213 – Jones R-Eureka & SB65 – Mayer R-Dexter) that do nothing to reduce unintended pregnancy. 

       Politicians in Missouri joined a national trend of unprecedented attacks on women’s health at the state and federal level in 2011.  As of March 31, 56% of the reproductive rights related bills introduced in state legislatures across the country sought to restrict abortion access compared with 38% in 2010, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

       HB213 & SB65 override the current law governing rarely sought abortions later in pregnancy.  Missouri physicians utilize evidence-based and accepted medical standards to evaluate the potential viability of the pregnancy and health condition of the pregnant woman.

       Current law—in place since 1974—bans abortion after viability unless the physician determines that the woman’s life or health is in danger. With HB213 & SB65, legislators ignore medical science and the current viability standards and instead write their own ambiguous and vague standards that undermine the physician’s judgment.

       Women facing medically complex pregnancies, such as those with severe fetal indications, often have no knowledge of the complications with their pregnancies until 20+ weeks gestation. In rare and tragic circumstances, such as Twin-to-Twin Transfusion or loss of amniotic fluid, continuing a pregnancy may cause harm to a fetus or pose other risks, but not meet the newly crafted health endangerment description in HB213 & SB65.

       While Planned Parenthood affiliates in Missouri do not provide abortions after viability, we see women and families facing wanted pregnancies gone terribly wrong.  As a trusted provider of health information, Planned Parenthood knows that a woman needs to rely on the expertise of her physicians not politicians when making the difficult decision about pregnancy complications.

      If the Missouri Legislature were truly concerned with the health of women, they would reject political interference like HB213 & SB65 and focus on proven policies that prevent unintended pregnancies and promote the health and wellbeing of Missouri women and families.

      For more information, please follow this LINK for a fact sheet on HB213 & SB65.

KANSAS LEGISLATURE PASSES BUDGET AMENDMENT UNDERMINING WOMEN’S HEALTH

WOULD REDUCE ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE BIRTH CONTROL AND PREVENTION CARE:  

Denying funding to Planned Parenthood will harm Kansas families

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri press release | May 13, 2100

       Overland Park, KS—Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri sharply criticized the Kansas Legislature for passing a budget with an anti-women’s health care amendment which would effectively end family planning funding for Planned Parenthood. The amendment will take life-saving cancer screenings, annual exams, birth control, and STI testing and treatment away from low-income and uninsured Kansas women, men and teens.

       In a calculated budget maneuver, Governor Sam Brownback and legislative allies manipulated the funding stream to deny Planned Parenthood, the largest and most qualified family planning provider in the state, the opportunity to take part in the federal family planning program.

       “It is outrageous that Gov. Brownback will sign a budget bill that will undermine women’s health and deny Planned Parenthood from providing preventive health care through the Title X program,” said Peter Brownlie, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood.  “Thousands of Kansans are now at risk of losing access to basic, preventive health care.”

       “Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri is seriously considering all options – including litigation --- to protect the health care needs of our patients, particularly low-income women and families. The Kansas budget bill, and its provision to deny federal Title X funds to Planned Parenthood, does not take immediate effect. There is no question: If the measure acts as intended, Planned Parenthood and thousands of patients will be unfairly punished.”

       The 2012 budget contains an amendment that makes the most qualified family planning provider the least likely to receive any Title X family planning funding. The amendment places Planned Parenthood at the bottom of the eligibility list, even though it has been a trusted family planning provider for years. In addition, at the national level, Planned Parenthood serves about a third of Title X patients.  

       The Title X program is the nation’s family planning program, and provides federal funding for preventive health care including birth control, cancer screenings and pap tests, annual exams and STI testing and treatment. Title X funds are prohibited by law from paying for abortions.    

       Each year, Planned Parenthood provides more than 3,000 pap tests and breast exams, 9,000 birth control visits, and 18,000 STD tests to Title X clients in Kansas. Planned Parenthood currently receives approximately $334,000 in Title X funding.

       In Kansas, Planned Parenthood provides Title X family planning services to more than 8,000 Kansans at our Wichita and Hays health centers. Hays is the ONLY Title X provider in Ellis County. In the eight rural counties adjacent to Ellis, one offers limited family planning one day per month and four have no family planning services at all.  

       This amendment not only sets a bad precedent, it is bad public policy. It will leave thousands of additional Kansans without access to vital health care services and will lead to increased health care costs for the state.

       “This amendment will be disastrous for thousands of Kansans, particularly those living in rural counties. By effectively eliminating Planned Parenthood as Title X provider, patients may be forced to endure long wait time for live-saving cancer screenings and the possibility of having to drive hundreds of miles to the nearest low-income family planning provider. This amendment is an attack on poor women, and it is repugnant.”

  • FACT: The funds at issue can ONLY be used for family planning services, including annual exams, Pap smears and birth control. Planned Parenthood health centers in Wichita and Hays, which receive Title X funding, do not provide abortion services.
  • FACT:  Publicly Funded Family Planning Centers, including Planned Parenthood in Wichita and Hays, avert approximately 4,000 abortions each year.
  • FACT: Over 90% of patients come to Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri health centers for family planning and prevention services.
  • FACT: According to the Guttmacher Institute, every $1 spent on family planning services in Kansas saves the State $6.14 in Medicaid-related costs. 

www.ppmissouri.org