Since I work for Planned Parenthood I understand that there is going to be a certain amount of controversy surrounding my work in the Missouri Capitol. Despite the fact that Planned Parenthood provides lifesaving cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, birth control and sex education to over 80,000 Missourians each year, over half the legislature does not agree with me and will never agree with me no matter what facts I put in front of them or what compelling stories I share.
I have been advocating for women’s health for a decade now so I have pretty thick skin and not much gets me down. But the past few weeks at the Capitol have been especially rough.
On Wednesday, I attended a public hearing of the Health Care Policy Committee which, for the second week in a row, was debating abortion restriction bills. HB386 is sponsored by Rep. McCaherty and would ban all abortions based on fetal anomalies. When Rep. McCaherty was asked point blank if the bill would ban a woman from getting an abortion if the baby had a severe genetic anomaly that was incompatible with life, he shocked me by telling his colleagues that his bill would not prevent a woman from getting an abortion.
Now, I’m used to politicians stretching the truth to their advantage and taking things out of context when it suits their needs, but his bill states in plain language
“no person shall intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion with knowledge that the pregnant women is seeking the abortion solely because the unborn child has been diagnosed with either a genetic abnormality or a potential for a genetic abnormality.”
It is absolutely clear. The bill BANS abortions. Either Rep. McCaherty has so little regard for women’s health that he hasn’t bothered to understand what his bill does or he has so little regard for the democratic process that he does not feel the need to tell the truth in public hearings. Did I mention Rep. McCaherty is a Baptist Minister?
I don’t expect much when I go to the Capitol, but until recently I could count on legislators to do at least two things:
Treat people with respect and not lie.
It really shouldn’t be that hard but many legislators must think Missourians don’t care about integrity and respect when it comes to women’s health policy and those advocating for women’s health.
As a proud advocate for Planned Parenthood’s mission and patients and a believer in the democratic process, I think those legislators are wrong.
Leave Rep. John McCaherty a note on his Facebook page asking him to quit lying to his colleagues and constituents -> http://on.fb.me/Zx2jZk
Michelle Trupiano, MSW
Statewide Manager of Government Affairs
Planned Parenthood affiliates in Missouri