Pro-life values keep building across state
JEFFERSON CITY—The power of darkness that continues to promote abortion in Missouri appears to be waning.
May 1 was full of good news in that the Missouri Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, upheld a 2005 law that strengthens Missouri’s parental consent law by adding reasonable provisions and safety standards. It provides more barriers to taking a minor out of state for an abortion to evade notifying parents. It also stops individuals from facilitating a minor’s access to out-of-state abortion clinics without a parent’s knowledge or consent.
Parents may sue those who help their minor daughter obtain an abortion illegally. Violators of the law are subject to a civil penalty.
Gov. Matt Blunt issued a statement that proclaimed the decision as “another victory in our efforts to establish a culture that values all human life. Parents must be informed of their children’s decision to end an innocent life and (the) ruling upholds that belief. No longer will Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers profit from those who aid or assist minors in obtaining an abortion without parental consent. I will continue working to enact strong pro-life measures that reflect the values of Missourians and reduce the number of abortions in our state.”
Planned Parenthood, which wanted the law struck down, was on the losing end of the unanimous decision. The pro-abortion organization stands to lose again if House Bill 1055, which is moving through the Missouri Senate, becomes law. That bill may very well lead to the closing of abortion clinics in Kansas City and Columbia, leaving Missouri with only one abortion clinic, in St. Louis.
“We are going to require, with the passage of House Bill 1055, that all abortion clinics be classified as ambulatory surgical centers, which will bring inspections and regulations upon them,” said Kerry Messer, lobbyist for the Christian Life Commission of the Missouri Baptist Convention. “If Planned Parenthood chooses to close those clinics, they are admitting that they are unsanitary and unsafe facilities.
“Once we finally fuss through the court process, we expect that the courts will agree with us, as they did on Senate Bill 1 (in the May 1 decision).”
Sen. John Loudon, R-Ballwin, sponsored the 2005 bill that was so decisively upheld as law. Loudon said early in the process, when circuit court and district court judges were flirting with the idea of creating law as they ruled on Senate Bill 1, that it was “a simple piece of legislation. It’s not complicated. It either offends the First Amendment or it doesn’t.”
Ultimately, the Missouri Supreme Court determined without dissent that the First Amendment right to free speech was not violated.
Messer said it was no accident that the high court was unanimous in its ruling. He is part of a deliberative, disciplined coalition of pro-life lobbyists that knows its limitations when helping to draft legislation. Lawyers within the group work hard to make sure that bills are in step with judicial nuances. Overreaching with language is not an option, Messer said.
“We don’t allow ourselves to do what we would like to do,” he said. “We do what we can do.”
Adding to the euphoria in the pro-life camp is an April 18 ruling by the United States Supreme Court on partial birth abortion. In a 5-4 decision, the court banned the procedure and triggered the activation of Missouri’s 1999 law that had been hung up in the legal system. Blunt used that occasion to urge lawmakers to send him “strong pro-life legislation this year so I can sign legislation that reflects the values of Missourians.”