Defending traditional families

HB 818: Gov. Blunt Signs Important Bill for Life and Health

Contrast: A Culture of Death & The Blessings of Life

June 1, 2007

On this same day that Michigan prison doors open for Jack Kevorkian to walk free, after bragging over the killing of 130 people through assisted suicide, our Missouri Governor will be signing a bill to help protect the most commonly targeted unborn abortion victims!

While Kevorkian, now 79, is known as “Dr. Death”, how do we reconcile the complacency of members of the medical community, and how do we refer to ourselves who have failed to discourage the 90% death rate of Downs Syndrome babies and other unborn children diagnosed with similar disorders?

That’s right. According to the research reported by the New York Times, 9 out of 10 women handed positive prenatal tests for Downs

Syndrome and other genetic disorders turn to abortions of convenience rather than to the many support services, networks and ministries available.

State Senator John Loudon and his wife Gina have proven their passion for these unexpected blessings, despite the fact that they come packaged ‘different’ from what most parents ‘expect’. Just this last year the Loudons received the phone call – the one they had come to fear they would never hear. And even though they were then expecting the delivery of their own fourth child, off they went – to claim the prize so long in wait.

So many Downs Syndrome babies are aborted that loving homes like the Loudon’s find it very difficult to adopt these special blessings. John and Gina see their youngest son that way, not a “special needs” child, but a “special blessings” child. They also extend a hearty

thank you to the birth parents who choose adoption over abortion.

This background explains why Senator Loudon had the foresight and interest to make sure insurance and health care reform legislation

contained a provision to encourage parents of unborn babies to consider all their options, support services and alternatives to abortion as soon as they are told of a positive test result from prenatal genetic testing.

The House sponsor of the bill, Doug Ervin (R-Kearney), was very supportive of the provision and pro-life lawmakers in both the House

and Senate followed the leadership of both bodies in supporting passage of HB 818. Key leaders in Missouri ’s capitol now deserve your “Thank You” notes. It is true that many may not have been completely aware of this particular provision (some pro-life members voted against other issues in the bill but not this section) but none have complained even after the fact.

Please send your thanks to your Representative in the House and your State Senator. Send a copy of your “Thank You” to Rod Jetton,

Speaker of the House, and Michael Gibbons, President Pro Tem of the Senate and ask them to share your message with their leadership teams. Then send a special “Thank You” to Governor Matt Blunt. He has been under heavy pressure to veto HB 818 from the medical community because of another portion of the bill dealing with midwives. His signature could very well cost him financially and politically.

With the Governor’s signature many of these babies will be given a chance at life!

Because pro-life citizens elect pro-life legislators, many birth and adoptive parents will receive untold blessings into their lives!

Thanks to one passionately pro-life Senator leading the way, Missouri is now a more pro-life state today than it was yesterday!

MISSOURI FAMILY NETWORK

OFFICIAL STATEMENT ON

HB 818

June 1, 2007

Kerry K. Messer, MFN President

314-971-2477 * 573-483-2007

Missouri Family Network supports Governor Matt Blunt in signing House Bill 818 into law today.

HB 818 contains provisions that will save the lives of unborn babies, assist families struggling to keep adequate health care coverage, and support and protect benevolent ministries which seek to help those without

health insurance. Gov. Blunt’s pro-life commitment to prevent abortion includes all babies.

First and foremost, Governor Blunt should be thanked for supporting the additional pro-life advances made in HB 818. New guidelines created under this bill address the tragic results of abortions for convenience.

Of women who are told that prenatal testing reveals a probability of Downs Syndrome or other genetic disorders, upwards to 90% of them turn to abortion. Thanks to HB 818 these Missouri women, and their unborn babies, will benefit from a full range of support services and information that can soften the shock of such prenatally diagnosed conditions. This provision will certainly save the lives of many babies otherwise at high risk

of abortion. It includes the following requirements:

“pregnant women who choose to undergo prenatal screening should have access to timely and informative counseling about the conditions being tested for, the accuracy of such tests,

and resources for obtaining support services for such conditions. Informed consent is a critical component of all genetic testing and prenatal screening, particularly as the results of

such testing or screening, and the counseling that follows may lead to the unnecessary abortion of unborn humans with Down Syndrome or other prenatally diagnosed conditions”.

“When a prenatally diagnosed condition, including but not limited to Down Syndrome, becomes known”, health care professionals shall provide patients with “the accuracy of such tests,

and resources for obtaining support services for such conditions, including information hotlines specific to Down Syndrome or other prenatally diagnosed conditions, resource centers,

and clearinghouses for such conditions, support programs for parents and families, and the alternatives to abortion services program under section 188.325, RSMo”.

Additionally, HB 818 contains multiple provisions that will make health care for Missouri families more affordable, easier to access and maintain, and creates incentives for employers to provide better and more

comprehensive health care for Missouri’s working families. The self-employed, under-insured and uninsured can all benefit under HB 818. Highly valued will be the end of spouses living in separate communities

as they struggle to maintain health insurance when a husband or wife’s job transfer places the family’s insurance coverage in jeopardy.

Finally, but of no less importance, health care sharing ministries seeking to connect uninsured individuals and families with financial aid and alternatives are protected. Such ministries are often ignored in insurance

reform debates. They struggle to keep their head above the drowning waters of regulations and politics. Today they are set free of the many legal concerns which threaten to minimize their ministry.

For those who make payments through a health care sharing ministry, premium payments to maintain health insurance, or for those who make insurance a reality for employees – tax breaks and better coverage

for less money is on its way, thanks to HB 818.

Missouri Family Network also extends its thanks to the Missouri Legislature, which under the leadership teams of both the House and Senate, adopted HB 818 in a demonstration of the State’s commitment to

pro-family and pro-life values. HB 818 will create a paradigm shift in health care coverage, while saving unborn babies lives at the same time.

Thank You Governor Blunt and Missouri Legislature!

HB 818 SECTION ON PRENATAL TESTING & SUPPORT FOR THE UNBORN

Full Text

191.912. 1. The general assembly of the state of Missouri hereby finds and declares that pregnant women who choose to undergo prenatal screening should have access to timely and informative counseling

about the conditions being tested for, the accuracy of such tests, and resources for obtaining support services for such conditions. Informed consent is a critical component of all genetic testing and prenatal

screening, particularly as the results of such testing or screening, and the counseling that follows may lead to the unnecessary abortion of unborn humans with Down Syndrome or other prenatally diagnosed

conditions.

2. As used in this section, the following terms shall mean:

(1) “Down Syndrome”, a chromosomal disorder caused by an error in cell division that results in the presence of an extra whole or partial copy of chromosome 21;

(2) “Health care provider”, any person or entity licensed, accredited, or certified by the state of Missouri to perform specified health services;

(3) “Prenatally diagnosed condition”, any adverse fetal health condition identified by prenatal genetic testing or indicated by prenatal screening procedures;

(4) “Prenatal test”, a diagnostic procedure or screening procedure performed upon a pregnant woman or her unborn offspring to obtain information about her offspring’s health or development.

3. When a prenatally diagnosed condition, including but not limited to Down Syndrome, becomes known as a result of one or more prenatal tests, the physician or other health care professional who

requested or ordered prenatal tests, or his or her designee, shall provide the patient with current information about the conditions that were tested for, the accuracy of such tests, and resources for obtaining

support services for such conditions, including information hotlines specific to Down Syndrome or other prenatally diagnosed conditions, resource centers, and clearinghouses for such conditions, support

programs for parents and families, and the alternatives to abortion services program under section 188.325, RSMo.

4. The department of health and senior services shall establish a clearinghouse of information concerning supportive services providers, information hotlines specific to Down Syndrome or other prenatally

diagnosed conditions, resource centers, education, other support programs for parents and families, and the alternatives to abortion services program under section 188.325, RSMo.

But the Media Says…

There is one other remaining issue of controversy in HB 818. This is the provision to authorize the practice of midwifery in Missouri . The provision was

written in a way to avoid detection from the medical community lobby and two Senators who, for personal political gain, sought to filibuster any legislation

allowing women the right to choose their own childbirth options. (While legal to choose a home-birth, mothers are prohibited from acquiring the services of

legally qualified and medically trained midwives.)

Note the general media’s sloppy reporting is erroneous – HB 818 authorizes “certified” midwifery, not “lay” midwifery. While full licensure is not required,

uncertified lay midwifery is not allowed under this bill.

There is a body of belief that this provision could override Missouri ’s law requiring that any abortions be performed by a physician. However, the rest of

the State’s abortion restrictions are not in question. Lawmakers are lining up to push for a ‘clean-up’ of this issue as early as they can in the next legislative

session. It is obvious such action will be a priority item for the majority of lawmakers, including those who support and oppose midwives.

Our analysis is that no additional women will seek abortions than already do in Missouri because a non-physician may be allowed to perform the procedure.

If an abortion clinic could get away with this they arguably would be able to operate at a lower cost and somewhat higher profit (?). The ambiguity of the

provision in question makes it very difficult to discern. As of today, there is no definitive legal analysis to clarify the issue one way or another.

In the end no more abortions would occur if this provision is ultimately determined to have the problem some say it has. However, passage of the bill,

rather than a veto of it, will result in fewer abortions due to the special provision dealing with Downs Syndrome and related disorders.

In other words – vetoing the bill would solve the problem of who may perform abortions (not who would seek an abortion), IF that problem materializes.

But it would also result in the loss of a pro-life provision that would save some unborn babies which would certainly be aborted without the bill.

It seems much wiser to support the Governor’s signing HB 818 into law and to save some babies, than to oppose the bill in favor of status quo with no change in the number of abortions. The loss of HB 818 would also mean the loss of the many other pro-family benefits of the legislation which go beyond pro-life specific issues.