Showdown coming with Planned Parenthood
Governor’s words make abortionists an easier target
JEFFERSON CITY – A bill that may lead to the cessation of public funding for Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider, was noted Jan. 24 when Gov. Matt Blunt devoted three sentences to “Getting Abortion Providers Out of Missouri Schools” in his Budget and Legislative Priorities document released before his State of the State Address.
“We started this project of taking on Planned Parenthood a couple of years ago, and the governor has adopted this as something that he wants to be a part of,” said Kerry Messer, founder of Missouri Family Network and lobbyist for the Missouri Baptist Convention’s (MBC) Christian Life Commission. “The battleground is a big one. It’s going to take a lot of resources. I’m predicting that we’re going to have a titan clash on the Senate floor.”
The language in the governor’s document reads as follows:
“Currently, some school districts around the state allow Planned Parenthood, and other abortion providers, to offer sex education in their schools. Governor Blunt believes that abortion providers should not be providing information to Missouri school children. The governor proposes legislation that will prohibit any public elementary or secondary institution from allowing abortion providers to present sex education programs to students.”
Nearly 900,000 students participate in Missouri public (elementary and secondary) education. Planned Parenthood affiliates are the largest provider of sex education materials and presenters to those pupils. It is a very lucrative business that is powerful in the Capitol, Messer said.
“Planned Parenthood is known to be one of the most politically active institutions in American life,” he said. “Those millions of dollars (in profits) that they reap by exposing our children to material that they should not be exposed to (are) put back into political campaigns to put people in office who will protect them to keep garnering the money and to continue abusing our children.
“We can’t print in The Pathway the types of things that even our grade school children face in their public school classrooms. It’s just a travesty that we can’t communicate this to Missouri Baptists. Missouri Baptists need to sit down and start writing letters to their legislators begging them to get this legislation passed.”
Messer said at least one pro-life leader in the Missouri General Assembly is worthy of our prayers when it comes to getting the anti-Planned Parenthood legislation passed. His name is Sen. Delbert Scott, R-Lowry City. Scott is a deacon at the Lowry City Church of God (Holiness).
“He has offered to help coordinate pro-life activities in the Senate,” Messer said.
The anti-Planned Parenthood bill is not the only one in play right now. More than one pro-life reform may eventually make it to the governor’s desk for his certain signature in 2007, Messer said, if pro-life citizens would only be active in the process. Three or four different provisions would appear to be possible, based on the substance of four paragraphs of language that Blunt included under the “Sanctity of Life” heading in the State of the State.
One idea Blunt is championing is that the Alternatives to Abortion program receive $200,000 in new funding in addition to $760,000 that will maintain the current level of funding. Messer focused on the spirit of this portion of the address, noting there was one line in particular that shined:
“No society can remain civilized if it does not concern itself with the respect and courtesy that is shown to one another, how it perceives the family, and how it treats the most vulnerable,” the governor said.
Another top legislative priority this year for pro-life activists is a bill that would protect Missouri’s pharmacists from being forced into providing “morning after” abortion pills to patients. In the governor’s language, he is seeking to protect the conscience rights of pharmaceutical professionals.
Messer said along with the governor’s various pro-life priorities, the thought of regulating the state’s two remaining abortion clinics in Columbia and St. Louis will play into what eventually goes before lawmakers.
“Our goal is to make them (the state’s abortion clinics) as responsible to the citizens of the state as you can make an institution that kills babies,” Messer said.