Monday MONITOR

Monday, February 21, 2011                                                 Contact:  Michelle Trupiano – 573.424.8717

BREAKING, OUTRAGEOUS NEWS, PART #1

       At 1:15pm CST last Friday, the US House of Representatives voted 240 to 185 to strip Planned Parenthood of ALL FEDERAL FUNDING.  These are funds that provide family planning, life saving cancer screenings, STD treatment, HIV screening, infertility screening, maternal & child health services, sex education and other, basic health care; Federal funds do not pay for abortions.  This is a targeted attack on Planned Parenthood—listed by name—because we take care of nearly 4 million people each year, our nation’s most vulnerable citizens, who rely on us for primary and preventive medical care.  To be clear, Rep. Pence is steadfast in wanting to strip these funds, because Planned Parenthood also provides quality, safe and legal abortion care.  As anti-choice Cong. Steve Lynch (D-MA-09) said on the floor:  “This bill, this amendment, will increase the number of abortions in this country….I don't have many friends in the Planned Parenthood community. They don't support me. I am pro-life. But I respect the good work that they do.” [see more on the back]

OUTRAGEOUS NEWS, PART #2

       In a crass, late-night sleight of hand, Rep. Koenig (R-88), sponsor of HB328, a bill to make it virtually impossible for a woman to get an early, medication abortion in Missouri, had the bill rolled into HB28, the Pharmacy Denial bill sponsored by Rep. Sater (R-68).  The substitute was placed in members’ boxes the night before the 8:00am executive session; needless to say, pro-choice committee members had not had time to review the substitute and had many questions. In fact, HB328—referred to a different committee—has never had a hearing, in any committee.  This is an outrageous flaunting of democracy; every bill deserves a public hearing before a vote—especially a bill that will harm women.  This substitute bill, which was voted ‘do pass’ despite the lack of a hearing, should be held in committee until it gets a proper vetting.

SB204—TAX CREDITS FOR CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTERS (CPC’s)—HEARD IN COMMITTEE

       CPC’s became known nationally in 1996 with the release of The Waxman Report. The report exposed a growing number of similar federally funded organizations that pose as objective health clinics for women facing unintended pregnancy and provide misleading scientific information, mainly about the health effects of abortion. CPC’s often withhold essential, medically accurate reproductive health information from women who are led to believe that they are visiting a neutral and objective medical facility. Every woman should have evenhanded and unbiased information so she can protect her health and make the best decision for her circumstances. This information should never be provided in a way intended to coerce, shame, or make her change her mind.  However these ‘clinics’ present one-sided and incomplete information, often from the perspective of one religious faith and with the goal of pressuring women to choose their “approved” course of action regardless of the woman’s situation.  The state should not place its imprimatur upon ‘clinics’ that mislead and deceive women on such an important matter. The committee should vote NO on SB204 (Dempsey, R-23).

HB213—A BILL ENDANGERING WOMEN—VOTED ‘DO PASS’ IN CTTEE

       Missouri and Federal law prohibit the abortion of a viable fetus.  Planned Parenthood continues to follow this law and all other laws that relate to abortion.  Instead of working to ensure women have better access to contraception, or to early abortion (and, in fact, this legislature will hear a bill making it harder to get an early abortion—see HB328 above), this bill is another troubling example of intrusion in the doctor-patient relationship and risks placing women in grave danger if they should present at a rural hospital for an emergency procedure with a life-threatening episode.  SB65 (Mayer, R-25), the companion bill, will be heard in Senate General Laws Committee on Tuesday at 3pm.

US HOUSE FLOOR DEBATE IN OPPOSITION TO DEFUNDING PLANNED PARENTHOOD—QUOTES

REP. STEVE LYNCH (D-MA-9).  I do want to remind the Members […] that there is fixed law that prevents Federal funding from being used for abortion. That is really not what this is about. This is about the ability of Planned Parenthood to conduct women's health care, to offer services that are deeply needed in many communities where no other source of health care is available.

       Planned Parenthood last year carried out 1 million screenings for cervical cancer and 830,000 breast exams and offered nearly 4 million tests and treatments for STDs, including HIV. Those are the services they provide. They are prohibited by law by the Hyde amendment from using Federal funds for abortions. That is a fact. You can be entitled to your own opinion, but that is a fact.

       I am a pro-life Democrat, and my faith informs my position on this issue. There used to be, I think, a general agreement, as divisive as this debate is and has been in this country for years, […] that the best way to reduce abortion in this country is to prevent unwanted pregnancies. […] This bill, this amendment, will increase the number of abortions in this country. […] That is the natural consequence of what is on the table here in this amendment. You are going to reduce funding for contraception; you are going to have more unwanted pregnancies, and you are going to have more abortions.

       I am disheartened by this amendment. I wish that the gentleman would withdraw this amendment because I think it is counterproductive to the goal of reducing the number of abortions in this country. And as a family who has been affected by cervical cancer and breast cancer, I think that is very important work that they do. And I support that.

       I don't have many friends in the Planned Parenthood community. They don't support me. I am pro-life. But I respect the good work that they do.

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA-12) Mr. Chairman, I had really planned to speak about something else, but the gentleman from New Jersey has just put my stomach in knots, because I'm one of those women he spoke about just now.

       I had a procedure at 17 weeks, pregnant with a child that had moved from the vagina into the cervix, and that procedure that you just talked about was a procedure that I endured. I lost the baby. But for you to stand on this floor and to suggest as you have that somehow this is a procedure that is either welcomed or done cavalierly or done without any thought is preposterous. […]

        There is a vendetta against Planned Parenthood and it was played out in this room tonight. Planned Parenthood has a right to operate. Planned Parenthood has a right to provide services for family planning. Planned Parenthood has a right to offer abortions. The last time I checked, abortions were legal in this country. I would suggest to you that it would serve us all very well if we moved on with this process and started focusing on creating jobs for the Americans who desperately want them.

REP. GWEN MOORE (D-WI-4) I would plead with my colleagues to reject the Pence amendment and not to defund Planned Parenthood. […] I can tell you, I know a lot about having black babies. I've had three of them. And I had my first one when I was 18 years old, […] An unplanned pregnancy. […] I went into labor, unfortunately, on New Year's Eve, […] I didn't have a phone in my home and didn't have a dime to go to the phone booth to call an ambulance, an ambulance which is a waste of money using Medicaid dollars, but I didn't have a car and didn't have cab fare.

       I just want to tell you a little bit about what it's like to not have Planned Parenthood. You have to add water to the formula to make it stretch. You have to give your kids Ramen noodles at the end of the month to fill up their little bellies so they won't cry. You have to give them mayonnaise sandwiches. They get very few fresh fruits and vegetables because they are expensive. It subjects children to low educational attainment because of the ravages of poverty. […] It subjects them to sexual predators, as when you try to go out and do a little work you have to leave your kids with just anybody because you don't have $800 to $1,200 a month for child care.

       And let me tell you, you know, the public policy has treated poor children and women who have not had the benefit of Planned Parenthood with utter contempt. These same children, it has been very difficult to get them health insurance through CHIP. When you go to the grocery store to buy them a little birthday cake with your food stamps, everyone stares at you in contempt. And, yes, on a bipartisan basis, Democrats and Republicans ended the entitlement to Aid for Families With Dependent Children; so that when we have a recession like we have now, women, who are alone typically, poor, of color, with these poor black children, have no money, go months and months and months with little or nothing to sustain themselves. […] And so I would beg my colleagues, I would beg them to not defund Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is healthy for women, it's healthy for children, and it's healthy for our society.

**  STATEWIDE PRO-CHOICE COALITION LOBBY DAY THIS TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 22  **

 www.ppmissouri.org