Planned Parenthood complains about bill’s effect
JEFFERSON CITY—Planned Parenthood took the opportunity to use church facilities and the occasion of Governor Matt Blunt’s bill-signing ceremony to call its own press conference regarding the passage of House Bill 1055 (HB 1055) July 6 at Concord Baptist Church.
Michelle Tripiano, spokesperson and lobbyist for Planned Parenthood, met with the press shortly after the bill signing, a few feet from where the ceremony was held.
Trupiano denied that the organization’s abortion services benefit from its public school sex education programs. She stated that the agency’s educators never discuss abortion in its school programs. “Their purpose in being there is to discuss birth control, STD’s and decision making.”
When students ask about abortion, she said, they are redirected to get on topic. “We do not contract with the schools. We are not paid by the schools.”
She indicated that, with the new legislation, schools will be pressured to use abstinence education programs. “They’ve proven again and again and again not to work. We would rather focus on prevention,” she said.
Trupiano also took issue with the legislation’s provision that abortion clinics be licensed in the same manner as other ambulatory surgery centers. “They’re absolutely ridiculous in that we don’t follow up or keep records,” she said. “[We do] the same as any other doctor’s office in the state.”
She countered that the regulations are not about technology or health care but about doorway standards and other physical requirements.
When one reporter asked if the clinic at Columbia has now become Ground Zero for the abortion battle, Trupiano answered “Yes.”
She explained that the Springfield clinic closed about two years ago; and, if the St. Louis and Kansas City facilities were to close, patrons could go over the line to adjoining states. This would leave Columbia, which would face remodeling costs of $1.5 to $2 million.
When asked how the organization is going to get that money to renovate, Trupiano answered she assumed it would require a huge fund-raising effort.
When pressed, she refused to say whether Planned Parenthood would challenge the legislation in court, stating only that “At this time, we haven’t made any decisions. Our lawyers are exploring all the options.”
Kerry Messer, lobbyist for Missouri Baptist Convention’s Christian Life Commission, says Planned Parenthood’s threats to close facilities in Kansas City or Columbia are an admission that those facilities are substandard to the one the organization operates in St. Louis, which is already compliant as an ambulatory surgical center. In fact, Planned Parenthood’s national organization has said that its clinics should meet all those guidelines.
“It will hurt financially if they shut [Columbia] down,” says Messer. “There is a huge university student population there – at least four universities – which is the bread and butter of abortion constituencies.”
Messer strongly acknowledged the role of Governor Blunt in the successful passage of HB 1055. “He has been an advocate for this legislation from Day One. He has been encouraging House and Senate members to get it to his desk.”
Messer appeals to Missouri Baptists to put HB 1055 on their prayer chains and prayer lists until any potential lawsuits are over. “Pray that Planned Parenthood fails in any judicial attempts to undo what the Legislature has done here,” he said.
“Planned Parenthood would be happy to keep legislation tied up [and clinics operating at the present status] indefinitely. Pray that the courts will dispose of those cases and allow the law, with all three major provisions, to go into effect immediately.”