Defending traditional families

Abortion, Bioethics & Sanctity of Life Issues, 2005 Summary

From the 2005 Legislative Summary (Regular Session)

Passed Bills:

SB 323 creates the state’s first legitimate research alternative to otherwise unethical embryonic stem cell research. The bill offers eligibility criteria for awarding grants to umbilical cord blood banks. A Life Sciences Research Board shall award grants based on an applicant’s: 1-Abilities; 2-Experience, and 3-The applicant’s commitment after expiration of the contract. Grants would expand any existing umbilical cord blood banks and establish new ones for the State. These grants shall be awarded subject to appropriation of funds for that purpose.

SB 420 modifies various judicial procedures. Part of the bill expands the “Safe Place For Newborns” law passed just a few years ago. This bill extends the affirmative defense against any prosecution for voluntary relinquishment of a child no more than one year old. Currently, the child must be between six and thirty days old. The purpose is to protect a baby discarded in life threatening circumstances.
MFN acknowledges strains this type of law creates between holding people accountable for their actions and promoting a cultural climate which supports the sanctity of life. In this age of our nation’s experience MFN trusts that additional statutory schemes will ultimately “catch-up” with these kind of individuals. Anyone who would abandon a baby in this manner will run afoul of the law in a variety of other ways also. In the meantime, we will continue to fight for Biblically sound public policies as well as the soul of our culture.

Failed bills:

HB 100 created clinic and doctor regulations that could have closed most of Missouri’s currently operating abortion clinics.

HB 143 required written notice to be delivered to a parent before a minor could receive an abortion. This bill would not water down existing parental consent laws – but would help to enforce them.

HB 144 defined the term “next friend” in the state parental consent law, to prohibit anyone with a financial conflict from assisting minors in efforts to circumvent Missouri’s parental consent law.

HB 168 prohibited all human cloning.

HB 330, HB 586 & SB 164 sought to outlaw the use of public funds for health and social services programs that subsidize abortion services.

HB 392 & SB 251 authorized a tax credit for contributions to pregnancy resource centers.

HB 435 & SB 94 created the “Respect Life” special license plate, the Alternatives to Abortion Support Fund, and the Respect Life Commission.

HB 457 & SB 160 prohibited human cloning and the use of public funds and/or any facilities for the purpose of human cloning.

HB 621 & SB 40 tried to establish a Birth Control Protection Act to prohibit any governmental entity from interfering with access to any contraceptives, including morning after pills, and public funds to supply such contraception.

HB 801 offered to start a Missouri Alternatives to Abortion Program in either or both the Department of Social Services or the Department of Health and Senior Services.

HB 871 the Woman’s Right to Know Act would have required the state to advocate on behalf of morning after abortion drugs.

HB 905 would have prohibited the withholding or withdrawal of nutrition and hydration for a patient absent a specific written health care directive by a patient authorizing any withholding or withdrawal.

HCR 30 attempted to ratify the ERA, Equal Rights Amendment, to the United States Constitution, and thereby requiring public funded abortions and government protections for homosexual marriages.

SB 198 attempted to disallows any provider of abortion services from providing sex education to public school students.

SB 294 tried to create a “Freedom=Choice” license plate and corresponding fund to pay for anti-family planning services.

SB 547 would grant courts the authority to appoint trustees to disburse funds for health care when a patient is in a persistent vegetative state.

Special Note – Senate Bill 2

SB 2 failed, but with such a surprise and shock to the Legislature and in the Governor’s Office that Governor Matt Blunt has announced he will call a special legislative session early in September to renew pro-life legislation!

SB 2 was a wonderful bill to start with, originally containing two major elements:

– Strengthened Parental Consent Provisions
First, to aid parents with a minor daughter taken across state lines for an abortion, and Second, to prohibit a “Next Friend” seeking a court order for a minor’s in-state abortion from having a financial conflict of interest within the abortion industry.

– Enhanced Restrictions on Clinics & ‘Doctors’
These restrictions include additional prerequisites for both ‘doctors’ and clinics including the added provision requiring clinics to be located within 30 miles of a hospital (closing most of the operating clinics in Missouri – which would relocate).

BUT – the version of SB 2 passed by the Senate had several additional items added, including:

– A Prohibition on any Public Funds Associated With Abortion Counseling or Services
– A 50% Tax Credit for Private Contributions to Pregnancy Resource Centers
– A Strengthening of Various Terms and an Official State Policy Favoring Life
– Added Medical Health Requirements for All Abortions Performed at Any Gestational Age
– Enhanced Individual Abortion Reports With Comprehensive Written Detail Requirements
– Started an “Alternatives To Abortion Support Fund” to Promote Childbirth Over Abortion
– Establishing the “Respect Life Commission” Within the Office of Administration
– Allowing for the Creation of “Respect Life” License Plates For Motor Vehicles
– Banning Planned Parenthood’s Sex Education Materials & Programs From Public Schools

Governor Calls For A Special Session

The Governor’s special session in September will be called so as to run during the same time frame as the constitutionally required veto session in order to avoid some of the expense associated with such special called sessions. Starting earlier in September than the veto session, the special called legislative session will be scheduled to wrap up its work on the same days the House and Senate review any vetoes from Governor Blunt. While this time frame is set in order to save taxpayers money – the big question on everyone’s mind is ‘how expanded, or limited, will the Governor’s call allow pro-life legislation to be?’

What to Expect?

Most fear his call will be for a very narrow agenda, allowing him to maintain a strong pro-life position before Missouri voters – while allowing a majority of pro-life legislation (such as the Senate approved version of SB 2) to wait another four months until the 2006 Legislative Session begins in January.

While no one expects an ‘open call’ for just any “pro-life legislation”, which would invite a cloning debate over embryonic stem cells (including SCNT –Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer), A middle-of-the-road call could be forthcoming. Such a moderated call for a special session could allow for pro-life proposals that go further than the parental consent and regulation issues outlined earlier from the original version of SB 2.

How to Respond?

While some pro-life advocates find criticism with Gov. Blunt, let’s face the facts:

1. Gov. Blunt is doing more to advance a culture of life and reduction of abortions than our previous two governors (pro-abortion Carnahan & Holden) or his campaign opponent, (current State Auditor Clair McCakill who is also openly pro-abortion).

2. There WILL be a Special Session in September to create pro-life public policy – with Gov. Blunt’s encouragement!

3. Passage of any pro-life bill results in a reduction of all other abortions, according to national stats.

We should THANK Gov. Blunt – not complain!