A mandate to encourage a culture of life
July 12, 2005
As the first pro-life governor since John Ashcroft, I was surprised and dismayed when Susan Klein’s organization linked arms with Planned Parenthood, the abortion provider, to stop pro-life bills in the legislature (see Klein’s column, “Missouri Right to Life, Gov. Blunt and cloning,” in the June 21 edition of The Pathway).
In the State of the State address in January, I called for legislation to protect young women and unborn children from the abortion traffic to Illinois. Our neighbor state is a favored destination of abortionists because it does not have a law like Missouri’s, for the consent of parents when an abortion is to be performed on their minor child. I also endorsed legislation to clamp down on abortion “clinics” and abortionists with strong new health and safety standards.
These bills did not pass because Mrs. Klein’s self-named pro-life group, Missouri Right to Life (MRL), entered into informal partnership with the abortion lobby and helped block the bills. Planned Parenthood could not have stopped these bills on its own. Only with the aid of MRL were the bills stopped.
I will convene the Legislature in September, in a special session, to consider these bills. As a Southern Baptist, I believe that protecting the lives of unborn children is a profound moral obligation. When we have the ability to enact new protection for babies in the womb, it is morally imperative that we do so.
It is shocking that a self-styled “pro-life” group would act to further the abortion lobby’s agenda. The explanation offered was that the legislation didn’t prohibit a medical research procedure called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), which had been unable to reach a Senate vote earlier in the session.
By helping Planned Parenthood, MRL was making hostages of unborn children, who were deprived of new legal protections so that lobbyists could seek future “leverage” for outlawing SCNT research. More than any other issue, the sanctity of life should be above hostage-taking and political games. Unborn children were not created to be bargaining chips for lobbyists in the State Capitol.
It is self-evident that there is not public consensus on SCNT. Legislation to criminalize this research was not passed. No self-named “leader” of pro-life opinion has demonstrated that this research is “cloning.”
In contrast, there will be wide public support for the pro-life bills blocked by anti-research lobbying. These new laws would prohibit the transport of minors across state lines to obtain abortions without parental consent, and would mandate that abortion providers have clinical privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of an abortion site.
What possible good can come from “pro-life” advocates joining with Planned Parenthood and the legislature’s most extreme abortion rights advocates, to obstruct pro-life bills? MRL will have to explain itself, because I cannot.
In September, I will ask the Legislature to send me these bills. Governors Bob Holden and Mel Carnahan would have vetoed the measures. I will sign them. The reason to pass these bills is simple: to reduce the number of abortions, and protect the lives of unborn children and their mothers.
Like those who publish this newspaper, I am a Southern Baptist. I believe that life begins at conception. In my public and private life, I have consistently supported the right to life of unborn children. I oppose abortion, and human cloning. I strongly support efforts to reduce the number of abortions and, in the legislature, voted to ban the barbaric procedure known as partial-birth abortion.
The current leadership of Missouri Right to Life has no mandate from the people to make public policy decisions. I have this mandate. I will continue to use it to strengthen and encourage a culture of life in Missouri. (Matt Blunt is the governor of Missouri and attends Second Baptist Church, Springfield.)