By Barbara Shoun
JEFFERSON CITY – Pro-life Democrats in the Missouri House of Representatives joined with Republican sponsors in January to vote for a resolution urging Missouri’s Congressional delegation to vote against the health care proposal currently under consideration by the federal government.
Last week, a committee of the Missouri Senate recommended that the Senate do likewise.
The inclusion of abortion services is one of several reasons given for supporting House Concurrent Resolution No. 18 (HCR18). The proposed federal plan currently covers abortion.
Missouri has traditionally opposed taxpayer-funded abortions; and even private insurance carriers in the state are prohibited from offering abortion services in their general policies. Anyone who wants abortion coverage must buy a separately-funded rider to the policy, insuring that other customers do not pay the cost of any abortion services.
Rep. John Diehl, Jr., R-Town and Country, introduced the resolution in the House, which approved it by a vote of 111 to 46. Almost all of the House Democratic pro-life caucus voted in favor of the resolution.
Sen. Scott T. Rupp, R-Wentzville, then introduced the resolution in the Senate where the Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee recommended passage. It is awaiting scheduling for debate by the full Senate.
Kerry Messer, lobbyist for the Christian Life Commission of the Missouri Baptist Convention, noted that there are several reasons given in the resolution as to why Missouri’s Congressional delegation should vote against the proposed federal health care issue, not the least of which is the fact that Missourians’ access to health care is better than that of most states.
Cited in the resolution are the prospects of higher taxes, more federal mandates, lack of addressing important issues, changes to longstanding practices regarding end-of-life decisions, lack of transparency in drafting the legislation, and constitutionality, particularly regarding special deals for some states.
While HCR18 requests action by Missouri officials elected to Congress, Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, is seeking to pass Senate Joint Resolution No. 25, which, if approved in November, would give Missouri citizens the right to opt out of the federal program.