Friday, June 16, 2017
Ed Emery on anti-abortion bill: We're fighting for the health of the mother
The Senate has just completed the first portion of this year’s second extraordinary legislative session: we passed Senate Bill 5 on a party-line vote of 20 to 8 and sent it to the Missouri House. You can read the governor’s special session call here. Listening to floor debate, it was frustrating for me to see unified opposition to common-sense health initiatives from those who claim to be the political party for women.
The clear justification for this special session is three-fold. First, a recent judicial opinion virtually deregulated abortion facilities such that even your local grocery store or butcher shop is now more subject to cleanliness and safety inspections than those doing abortions. Second, St. Louis has defied Missouri statutes by passing a local ordinance to become an abortion “sanctuary city” which, among other things, eliminates the free speech and association rights of crisis pregnancy centers. Finally, some local prosecutors in St. Louis have either refused or just neglected to enforce Missouri laws relating to abortion. I am told that in our state’s resulting deregulated environment, at least four applications have been made by Planned Parenthood to open new abortion clinics in Missouri.
Senate Bill 5 re-imposes annual inspections and other oversight that applies to any other medical office performing surgical procedures. It also authorizes Missouri’s Attorney General to have joint jurisdiction with local prosecutors as an assurance that state laws will be enforced, and it prohibits Missouri cities from imposing local ordinances that conflict with state law or discriminate against religious freedom.
Democratic opposition to Senate Bill 5 did not diminish even when floor debate referenced an extensive year-long Senate Special Study completed in 2016. The study exposed internal Planned Parenthood policies and staffing instructions that were appalling and in similar surgical environments would likely constitute medical malpractice. The most public offense of the St. Louis abortion facility was the clear possibility of the illegal sale of fetal body-parts (suspicion of which prompted the investigation). The Senate report confirms that fetal parts were missing from pathology reports and were unaccounted for and without explanation. Contracts for the disposal of human tissue were also missing or incomplete. The pronounced health threat suggested by these offenses is the potential failure to diagnose either botched abortions or treatable life-threatening medical conditions.
The appalling demands of Planned Parenthood staff included the instruction, when making an emergency 911 call, to request that “no sirens” be used. Staff was also instructed when making an emergency call to not tell paramedics that the emergency was related to abortion and to use a vague description of condition such as “patient in her 20’s…bleeding but stable.” The absence of complete medical information and the increased response time in the absence of sirens present clear threats to any mother who has just undergone a surgical or chemical abortion.
Nevertheless, the Democrats voted in lock-step against Senate Bill 5’s common-sense protections. The bill passed over their vocal opposition, but their eight votes were enough to block passage of the bill’s emergency clause, which would have ensured that these health and safety measures would be implemented immediately upon a signature by the governor.
A five-hour public hearing preceded the Senate floor debate where we heard witnesses ranging from Missouri Right to Life and Concerned Women for America to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood abortion doctors. One abortion doctor suggested that abortion is typical of any surgical procedure and stated confidently that “abortion is safe” but she made no mention of its impact on the yet-to-be-born child. She did not differentiate abortion as the only surgery that is only successful if one of the patients dies. Another abortion doctor responded to questions that she had performed hundreds of live births and similar numbers of abortions. I confess, the dichotomy of holding a new-born infant one day and deliberately killing one the next is beyond my understanding.
Admittedly, in today’s culture and judicial setting, it is practically impossible to protect the life of the pre-born child that a mother decides to kill. Nevertheless, it is still possible to fight for the health and safety of the mother that makes that tragic decision. Senate Bill 5’s intent and purpose is just that.