Monday Monitor: February 15, 2016

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Contact: M’Evie Mead, 314-531-7526 x348, mevie.mead@ppslr.org

MO Senate Expected to Debate Dangerous SB 644 This Week

A dangerous bill targeting reproductive health was brought up briefly for debate Monday night, then quickly moved to the informal calendar before opponents had a chance to weigh in. SB 644, sponsored by Sen. Bob Onder (R-Lake St. Louis), is a targeted restriction of abortion providers (TRAP) law. TRAP laws are designed to restrict abortion access under the guise of protecting patient safety. SB 644 imposes medically unnecessary mandates that require physicians to have hospital privileges, duplicate inspection procedures, and needlessly complicate the licensure process. The measure would also prohibit patients who’ve had an abortion from donating fetal tissue for medical research.

SB 644 is the latest attempt by extremist politicians to chip away at access to safe and legal abortion. We expect the bill to be brought up for a real debate later this week. Enough is enough—tell your senator to oppose SB 644!

You can listen to the debate live on the Senate website and follow along on Twitter with the hashtags #MoLeg and #itsaTRAP. We will be tweeting from @PPMO_Advocates.

Our Thoughts are with Justice Scalia’s Family and Loved Ones

The passing of Justice Antonin Scalia will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the Supreme Court. Right now, we send sympathy and thoughts to Justice Scalia’s family and loved ones. In the coming days we will work to understand and share the impact this will have on cases presently before the Court and the nomination of a new associate justice.

Birth Control Bill Advances in Missouri House

A House committee voted unanimously to advance Republican-sponsored HB 1679, which would expand access to birth control by allowing pharmacists to prescribe oral contraceptive pills. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Sheila Solon (R-Blue Springs) and has bipartisan support. The measure is similar to new laws in Oregon and California.

Rep. Solon said that she wants to expand access to contraception to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions in Missouri. Planned Parenthood testified in favor of the bill, as did the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Partnership. The bill must pass another committee before the full House of Representatives can bring it up for debate.

Gov. Kasich to Sign Bill Defunding Planned Parenthood

Ohio Governor John Kasich is set to sign a law stripping $1.3 million in state and federal funding from Planned Parenthood. The cuts will affect programs on infant mortality prevention, sex education, HIV and STI testing, and education on domestic violence and healthy relationships. Despite Ohio having the nation’s worst African American infant mortality rate, this measure cuts the “Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies” program, which provides education and support to high-risk African American women during pregnancy and the first two years after birth.

Supporters of this bill claim that nobody will lose services because the money will be directed to other providers. However, this has not proven true elsewhere. In Texas, for example, research shows that women who lost access to Planned Parenthood were less able to access birth control and had more unintended pregnancies. The Director of Public Health Policy at Columbus Public Health, Kelli Arthur Hykes, agreed: “If Planned Parenthood goes away as a provider, there will be a void of services in our community. We don’t have the capacity to fill that void.”

Governor Kasich, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination, has long been a foe of reproductive rights. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio CEO Stephanie Kight said, “Through budget provisions and legislation, John Kasich has signed 17 anti-women’s health measures, decimating women’s access to health care in Ohio.”

Volunteer Patient Escort and Greeter Trainings in St. Louis and Columbia

Chrissie Fouts, our mid-Missouri grassroots organizer, is training ten new volunteer patient escorts this month at Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri’s Columbia Health Center. Volunteer patient escorts provide a supportive, welcoming presence for patients visiting the health center. They help to deflect much of the negativity and harassment coming from the protesters on the sidewalk.

To the east, St. Louis Grassroots Organizer Alaina Smith has been busy training new volunteers to greet patients at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region’s Forest Park Avenue building, which houses the Central West End Health Center and Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood.

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We love our volunteer patient escorts and greeters! To learn more and sign up to volunteer, contact our organizers at the links below.

Join Us for Lobby Day Next Tuesday

Our second lobby day of the year is next Tuesday, February 23. Lobby days are an important way for us to show legislators that their communities support Planned Parenthood and reproductive health. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or you’ve never been to the Capitol, our organizers will prepare you to speak directly to lawmakers in a supportive team environment. In the last two legislative sessions, Missouri politicians proposed 57 bills to cut people off from the reproductive health care they need and deserve. The number of dangerous, insulting bills filed in 2016 is steadily climbing. We need you to join us in Jefferson City and tell your legislators: Enough is enough!

Carpools are available from the Kansas City area, the St. Louis area, Springfield, and Columbia. We will meet up in Jefferson City in House Hearing Room 1 at 10 a.m. for briefing and training. If you can’t make it next Wednesday, we have three more lobby days scheduled: Wednesday, March 30; Tuesday, April 12; and Thursday, May 5. Mark your calendars and RSVP below!

P.S. It is your support that drives us to fight for reproductive
rights and allows us to provide vital health services to those in our
community. Help be there for women, men, and teens in our community by making a
tax-deductible donation. DONATE

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About ppmissouri

A project of: ADVOCATES of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri Planned Parenthood Great Plains
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