Monday Monitor: February 29, 2016

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

Abortion Case at the Supreme Court

This Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear the most important abortion rights case since 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey. At issue in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt is whether two Texas targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws, both of which are on the books here in Missouri, pose an undue burden on a woman seeking an abortion. After these laws passed in 2013, more than half of Texas’ abortion providers were forced to close. Leading medical organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, oppose these laws because they are medically unnecessary and harm patient health by restricting access to safe and legal abortion.

With the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court now has only eight members. A four-four split would leave intact the 5th Circuit ruling upholding the laws, but would not set a precedent for the rest of the country. The Court will make its decision by June of this year.

Three brave women from Missouri will join people from across the nation in Washington, D.C. to tell their own abortion stories on Wednesday. They will share how bad state laws restrict abortion access and urge the Court to think of real women’s lives when deciding this case. Follow our Missouri storytellers’ journey on our Facebook and Twitter.

Worth Your 15 Minutes: John Oliver Explains TRAP Laws

Comedian John Oliver’s weekly news program, Last Week Tonight, has a must-see segment on abortion laws. He explained that targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws, which abortion opponents insist are “all about women’s health,” are actually medically unnecessary measures designed to shut providers down. Two TRAP laws are at issue in this week’s Supreme Court case: requiring physicians to have admitting privileges at local hospitals and forcing abortion providers’ facilities to meet the building standards of ambulatory surgical centers. Both of these laws are on the books in Missouri.

SB 802 Abortion Ban Debated in Senate

Senate Bill 802 bans abortion in cases of a Down syndrome diagnosis or possible diagnosis. This bill cynically uses people with disabilities to further an extremist agenda. Anti-abortion politicians know they can’t ban abortion outright, so they try to chip away bit by bit. SB 802 will turn doctors into government agents, interrogating women and demanding a reason for their decision to exercise a fundamental right.

This bill will do nothing to make Missouri a better place for people with disabilities. Disability rights organizations like the National Down Syndrome Society do not support these measures; instead, they support efforts to make sure women and families are informed when they undergo prenatal genetic testing. Rather than intervening in a family’s personal and private medical decision, our legislators should support programs that would actually make Missouri a welcoming place for people with disabilities and their families, like First Steps, paid family leave, consumer-directed services and raising MO HealthNet eligibility levels and asset limits.

Recap: Hearing on Five Anti-Reproductive Health Bills

February 2016 Lobby Day Group photo

The House Children and Families Committee heard five anti-reproductive health bills last Tuesday, all stemming from discredited allegations about fetal tissue donation made by an extremist anti-abortion front group.

Reproductive health supporters packed the room holding bright pink “I Stand With Planned Parenthood” signs, as well as signs provided by NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri that had “Indicted” stamped over the logo of the Center for Medical Progress, the fraudulent front group whose ringleaders have been indicted. More than a dozen people were prepared to testify in opposition to all five bills, but Committee Chair Rep. Diane Franklin (R-Camdenton) limited testimony to 15 minutes.

Washington University OB/GYN Dr. Jaclyn Grentzer and third-year medical student Julia Lange testified against the bills with passion and poise, expressing concern that the bills do not use proper medical terminology, are not evidence-based, and do not help patients. Rep. Franklin repeatedly and condescendingly interrupted both witnesses. Our supporters in the room were shocked at the behavior because they expected our elected officials to show respect for citizens who travel to Jefferson City to share their expertise and experiences in a public hearing.

Dangerous SB 644 up for Debate Anytime

The Senate briefly debated this targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) bill and set it aside, where it can be debated again anytime. Listen in to live debate on the Senate website and follow along on Twitter with the hashtags #MoLeg and #itsaTRAP. We will be tweeting from @PPMO_Advocates.

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
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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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