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Columbia Planned Parenthood could face new restrictions

Thursday, April 15, 2010 | 7:34 p.m. CDT; updated 10:52 p.m. CDT, Thursday, April 15, 2010

JEFFERSON CITY — The Senate gave first-round approval to augment existing abortion informed-consent requirements Thursday. Under the proposed legislation, a physician must provide to a patient the following at least 24 hours before performing an abortion:

  • Illustrated handouts from the Department of Health detailing abortion risks and physical characteristics of the unborn child's development in two-week increments, with the statement: "The life of each human being begins at conception. Abortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being",
  • The gestational age of the fetus,
  • An opportunity to view an ultrasound and hear the heartbeat of the unborn child,
  • Information on available medical assistance and counseling resources,
  • Contact information for rape crisis and domestic violence centers, and
  • Details on the father's liability for child support

The legislation also dictates that this information must be provided in person, rather than via telephone or Internet communication. An abortion would not be performed until the woman completes a checklist-style form certifying all requirements were met.

Bill sponsor Sen. Robert Mayer, R-Dexter, said the bill ensures women are able to make an informed decision before undergoing an abortion and Sen. Scott Rupp, R-St. Charles County, agreed with Mayer.

"I was very excited [after Thursday's vote]," Rupp said. "It's difficult to get a good pro-life bill through the Senate, and this is a very solid bill."

Rupp also said he felt providing "medical information, ultrasounds, any more information we are giving these mothers to protect the lives of the unborn is a good thing."

Michelle Trupiano, a Planned Parenthood lobbyist based in Columbia, said that by mandating that information be administered in person, the bill effectively forces the Columbia clinic to close family planning services to accommodate pre-procedure consultations.

The center's family planning services are eligible for federal funding, though abortion procedures are not. Consequently, family planning services and abortion procedures cannot be offered on the same day, and an additional day would need to be designated each week for pre-procedure meetings.

The Columbia clinic is one of only two Planned Parenthood clinics in the state that offer on-site abortion procedures. Currently, the clinic offers family planning services four days a week as well as the first two Saturdays of each month. Abortion procedures are available once a week.

Trupiano said the legislation's in-person mandate would "create a huge burden for women."

"Many of them travel from over 100 miles away," she said. "They have to take off of work, arrange for transportation, and since 50 percent of them already have children, they have to find childcare as well. If they have to be there in person 24 hours before, they have to do all of those things twice."

Kathy Forck, campaign director of 40 Days for Life in Columbia, said she is in favor of the legislation.

"This is a really big decision in a woman's life," Forck said. "Anything that can cause a woman to stop and think about the decision is a good thing."

Frock said she felt the in-person requirement was a positive change, and that a woman would feel more comfortable asking questions in that environment.

"When you're talking to a doctor, making a decision that is going to effect you and a baby for the rest of your life and their life, I think it deserves a face-to-face interview."

Forck also mentioned speaking with a young woman who had an abortion and later regretted it.

"I think if she had seen an ultrasound, if she had seen her baby, she would never have gone through with it," Forck said.

Sen. Joan Bray, D-University City, said legislators should focus their attention on education and comprehensive sex education programs, rather than restricting abortion rights.

"If we prevented unwanted pregnancies, then we wouldn't be having this debate year after year," Bray said.

Similar legislation in the House includes the restrictions set by the Senate and also expands upon it by creating the crime of coercing an abortion. The legislation would also require clinics to inform county prosecutors when women under the age of 18 seek abortions, with the intent to identify possible rapists.

Speaker Pro Tem Bryan Pratt, R-Blue Springs, said the Senate "took at a step in the right direction today."

"I'm confident we'll get a bill on the governor's desk," Pratt said. "We'll work together, and see what we can work out."

 


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Comments

Bonnie Potter April 15, 2010 | 9:01 p.m.

This is a positive legislative proposal in the protection of human life. For too long abortion has been glossed over as a "woman's right to choose" while downplaying the fact that a life is being put to death because of that choice. Hopefully someday abortion will no longer exist, but until then we must ensure the mother is fully aware of all options & resources, and be educated about the developing baby inside.
Of course the abortion clinics will be opposed to these measures - they have much to lose financially. Perhaps some of the people assisting with abortions truly believe the propaganda...
A 2 pronged approach of decreasing abortions & preventing unwanted pregnancies is a win for all human life. Maybe in the future there will be a memorial/museum showcasing abortion through the decades and people will marvel that our nation did not protect helpless unborn babies for so long. Let's take a stand for what is right.

(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble April 15, 2010 | 9:14 p.m.

If "pro-lifers" really wanted to reduce abortions, they'd fully support birth control, sex education, and informed family planning--not some religion-based, fairy-tale abstinence-only approach which views life through the lens of sin. Secular family planning has been shown beyond doubt to reduce unwanted pregnancies far more than the failure that is abstinence-only education.

Instead, we only get hypocritical measures like this one.

I'd also be less skeptical of the "pro-life" beliefs of these people if they were as willing to spend our government resources and taxes on our fellow citizens after they're born. Before birth, all life is precious. After you're born, you're on your own, get a job, and don't expect any help from the rest of us. Unless you go to our church.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro April 16, 2010 | 12:54 a.m.

("Sen. Joan Bray, D-University City, said legislators should focus their attention on education and comprehensive sex education programs, rather than restricting abortion rights.")

I don't see how reasonable, educative, scientific, psychiatric, societal and legal procedures restrict rights.
And I see no legal requirement in this legislation that a clergy person be involved in the process.
(Although I would personally encourage any pregnant woman, the dad and family members to speak with a spiritual counselor before killing off the life growing inside of the mother.)
Decisions to abort can haunt people for the rest of their lives.

(Report Comment)
Katie McDonald April 16, 2010 | 3:04 p.m.

"Sen. Joan Bray, D-University City, said legislators should focus their attention on education and comprehensive sex education programs, rather than restricting abortion rights."
The sex ed provided in most states is developed by the same people providing abortion, Planned Parenthood. They promote wildly irresponsible, unrestricted and unrestrained sexual activity in children and then want to pretend that teen sex is caused by abstinence programs. PP isn't motivated to do a better job of educating because they are also on the receiving end (tax payer dollars) for treatment of STDs and abortion.

(Report Comment)
Denise Ferrell April 16, 2010 | 4:52 p.m.

"If we prevented unwanted pregnancies, then we wouldn't be having this debate year after year," Bray said.

That's an age old false argument. Those merchants selling such services to unmarried and married alike have not empirically or science-based proven that their products prevent abortion. The opposite is true and the other fruits harvested from those buying their services are a host of STD's and mutations to boot. The real problem rests in the arms strong marriages and genuine pure love. ALternative lifestyles just don't make the mark. Enough experimenting with human lives!

(Report Comment)
Joanne Schrader April 16, 2010 | 11:37 p.m.

First, not all pro-lifers are against artificial contraceptives, so do not make sweeping generalizations or use religious stereotypes to dismiss pro-life arguments. People have a right to choose if and when to have intercourse, but once conception occurs there should be no legal right to deliberately end an innocent human life (i.e pro-choice before conception/pro-life afterwards).

Since the advent of the Pill, mankind has had greater development, access, and variety of contraceptive methods. Also, sex education is out in the open and more commonplace. So you would think, there would be fewer unplanned pregnancies and abortions since the 1960s. However, the opposite is true. Over 1,000,000 abortions are performed in the United States every year making it one of the most common medical and surgical procedures. This tells us that Planned Parenthood's value free version of sex education is unsuccessful and a fraud.

Furthermore, there is plenty of evidence that pro-lifers care about and assist people who are already born everyday. How often does Planned Parenthood offer a mother financial assistance, shelter, medical care, counseling, etc. so she can bring her baby to term? According to their latest annual report Planned Parenthood killed 305,310 babies compared to the fewer than 5,000 who got prenatal care or an adoption referral (combined total).

(Report Comment)
Joanne Schrader April 19, 2010 | 11:11 p.m.

Check out this resource: The Prevention Deception: How Not to Reduce Abortions.

http://www.usccb.org/prolife/programs/rl...

(Report Comment)

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