Monday MONITOR                  

Monday, March 11, 2013 

NEW BIILS FILED

     Senator Libla (R-25) filed SB393.  This act requires, at least 24 hours prior to an abortion, a physician to conduct and review with the woman an active ultrasound and allow the woman to hear the heartbeat of the unborn child if it is audible. When reviewing the ultrasound with the woman, there shall be a verbal description of all relevant features of the ultrasound and audible heartbeat if present. The pregnant woman shall be given a photograph or print of the ultrasound image of a quality consistent with the current standard medical practice. Coercing women to view an ultrasound is not medically required, is disrespectful to women and has no place in Missouri law. A politician forcing a doctor to use an ultrasound for political — not medical — reasons is the very definition of government intrusion. This bill represents a dangerous intrusion into medical care.

RECAP: HOUSE HEALTH CARE POLICY COMMITTEE HEARING ON HB457 and HB386

     On Wednesday, March 6th HB457-Jones (R-110) Expansion of Medical Refusal Provision (including denial of contraception) and HB386-McCaherty (R-97) Abortion Ban for Sex Selection and Genetic Abnormalities to prohibit abortions for the purpose of sex selection or genetic abnormalities were heard in the House Health Care Policy Committee.

     Campaign Life Missouri, Catholic Conference, Missouri Family Policy Council, Missouri Right to Life, and Concerned Women for Missouri, and Missouri Baptist Convention all testified in support of both bills.  Opponents to the bills also testified at Wednesday’s hearing.  Opponents to the bills included Michelle Trupiano (Planned Parenthood) and a representative of ACLU of Eastern Missouri. The Missouri Hospital Association testified against HB457.

     During the hearing, Rep. Kirkton (D-91) asked Rep. McCaherty if this bill would criminalize physicians and ban abortion based on a fetal abnormality.  Rep. McCaherty stated that the bill only intends to stop physicians from  pressuring patients to consider abortion in cases of fetal abnormalities, but that there is no ban on abortions.

     However, the bill summary on the legislative page reads: “Establishes the Abortion Ban for Sex Selection and Genetic Abnormalities Act of 2013 to prohibit an abortion solely due to the sex of the unborn child or a genetic abnormality.”

     The bill clearly states “no person shall intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion with knowledge that the pregnant women is seeking the abortion solely because the unborn child has been diagnosed with either a genetic abnormality or a potential for a genetic abnormality.” It is absolutely clear. The bill BANS abortions. 

     For more information on the bills and this hearing, please go to the Legislative Center at our website: ppmissouri.org.

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH-HIGHLIGHTING OUR HEROES

     Every week during March, Planned Parenthood will be profiling historical and modern activists, as well as young leaders.  Highlighted activists will include those active in key themes we’ll be exploring each week: Reproductive Rights, Violence against Women, HIV/AIDS, and Gender Discrimination. 

     Vice Admiral Regina Marcia Benjamin- In 2009, President Barack Obama announced his nomination of Vice Admiral Regina Marcia Benjamin, USPHS for Surgeon General of the United States and as a Medical Director in the regular corps of the Public Health Service. As the first physician under 40 and the first African-American woman to be elected to the Board of Trustees of the American Medical Association, she is committed to making health care accessible for minority and rural communities. Benjamin received her medical degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and completed her residency in family practice at the Medical Center of Central Georgia. She was the first member of her family to attend medical school, and said, “I had never seen a black doctor before I went to college.” Benjamin entered a solo medical practice in Bayou La Batre, Alabama, an underserved area where approximately one out of five families lives below the poverty line. After earning an MBA from the Freeman School of Business at Tulane University, she converted her office to a rural health center. This health center was destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina and in 2006 by a fire. She rebuilt her health center both times, ensuring that people in rural areas had access to vital health care services. To ensure that she is able to care for as many people as possible, she traveled by pickup truck to care for the isolated and immobile in the community. 

AFTER TILLER SCREENING COINCIDES WITH THE HEARING SURROUNDING HB386

Columbia Missourian- Monday, March 4, 2013 BY Brandon Weiss-EXCERPT

     When Phil Wood and his wife decided, on the advice of physicians, to end a pregnancy of twins they discovered had a fetal anomaly, Wood pledged to help others any way he could. "I said to myself that if there's anything else I could do to help other women in this situation, I would do it," he said. 

     Wood, a professor in psychological sciences at MU, was part of a four-person panel at MU on Monday morning that discussed the film "After Tiller," which was shown over the weekend in the True/False Film Fest.

     Lana Wilson and Martha Shane, who co-directed and produced the film, as well as the Rev. Nancy TannerThies, who was ordained in the Christian Church and is a teacher at Sapattu, a retreat center in Jefferson City, were also on the panel. Michelle Trupiano, a lobbyist with Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri moderated the discussion.

     Wilson and Shane were drawn to the subject after watching the media coverage of the 2009 murder of George Tiller, who was one of five doctors in the U.S. trained and willing to perform third-trimester abortions.

     "It was frustrating to watch the coverage of Dr. Tiller's death," Wilson said. "They'd say a controversial doctor died and not much else." Shane's interest was piqued by learning about the miniscule number of physicians willing to provide this service.  "How in the world in a country this large could there be only four people who do these procedures?" Shane asked.

     The directors said the film's main goal was to humanize the doctors who perform third-trimester abortions, show what they go through daily and the challenges of their work. The film shows several patient-doctor meetings, couples' counseling sessions and the lives of the people at the center of the abortion debate.

     While Wilson and Shane were aiming to educate, their work also taught them a lot about the people involved in third-term abortions in terms of the diversity among women's stories and their background.

     "We learned a lot about where these women (getting late-term abortions) were coming from that surprised us," Wilson said. Shane added that some of their own misconceptions were corrected during the filming as they talked to the doctors.  "We thought these people must have incredible courage to keep doing this in spite of the danger," she said. "But it's not about courage. It's about compassion and love for the patients."

     That is not to say that courage is not required, as the filmmakers noted. Wilson explained that even though Tiller was shot in both arms in 1993 he continued to his Wichita health center until he was killed at church on May 31, 2009. His murderer, Scott Roeder, was sentenced to life in prison in April 2010. Other clinics have also been targets of protest and vandalism, as shown in the film.

     Wood described Tiller's clinic, where he and his wife traveled for the procedure, with its fence and security cameras, metal detectors and security guard. "I thought to myself, 'What am I getting myself into?'" he said.

     The doctors in the film pointed out that they had no intention of becoming political figures and that their only concern was the patients. That was why Tiller never spoke to the media, and that led to some misconceptions. While the doctors remained silent, the anti-abortion movement was "very aggressive about getting stuff out there," Wilson said.

     The film's Columbia debut came at possibly a critical time for pro-abortion rights activists in Missouri as House Bill 386 is set for a hearing Wednesday. The bill, if passed, would ban abortions that cite fetal anomaly as the reason — even potentially fatal anomalies — no matter when the mother finds out about the anomaly. The proposed legislation was introduced in the previous legislative session but gained little traction.

     The timing of the bill has been troubling for Trupiano.  Trupiano added legislation that likely will not pass is usually sidelined by the time of MU's spring break. "That it's rising this early in session, it's concerning," Trupiano said.

     Wilson and Shane said they hope their work can be used as a source of middle ground for understanding as the debate over abortion continues in both the public and government spheres. 

THE COMPREHENSIVE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT IS NOW LAW!

     Cecile Richards’, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, statement applauding Congress for passing an inclusive reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). (excerpted)

     “Today’s long overdue passage of the Violence Against Women Act is a victory for women across the country.  It will provide immediate and much-needed protections to millions of women and families,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

     “As the nation’s leading women’s health care provider and advocate, Planned Parenthood understands firsthand the devastating impact that intimate partner violence can have on a woman’s health.

     “When a woman is in an abusive relationship, the effect is much broader than just the physical and emotional damage inflicted on her and her family. It creates real public health challenges.  Understanding this reality led to the initial development of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, which has had a profound impact on the fight to end violence against women.  We applaud the bill’s strengthened protections for the LGBT community, immigrant victims, tribal women, and college students.  We are also glad that the legislation includes provisions that give service providers and law enforcement agencies additional tools and resources to combat human trafficking, overcoming an effort in the House to push a partisan bill that would take away critical services for victims of trafficking.”  

WATCH FOR PLANNED PARENTHOOD ADVOCATES UNDER THE DOME

LOBBY DAY: March 13th, 2013

For more information on upcoming lobby days contact:

Crystal.Brigman@ppslr.org - Springfield/SWMO - (417) 883-3800 ext 809

Angie.Postal@ppslr.org - St. Louis area - (314) 531-7526 ext 334

Martha.Stevens@ppkm.org – Columbia/Mid-MO (573) 443-0427 ext 228

Sheila.Kostas@ppkm.org - KC area - (913) 312-5100 ext 246 

 

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