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NARAL PRO-CHOICE MISSOURI CONDEMNS PASSAGE OF HB1055, REGRETS THAT LAWMAKERS REFUSED TO PUT PREVENTION FIRST

Posted: 05/18/2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                         May 18, 2007

NARAL PRO-CHOICE MISSOURI CONDEMNS PASSAGE OF HB1055, REGRETS THAT LAWMAKERS REFUSED TO PUT PREVENTION FIRST


(St. Louis)  NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, the state’s largest grassroots organization dedicated solely to protecting the right to choose through the political process, condemned the Missouri General Assembly today for endangering the health of Missouri women with the passage of HB1055 in the last minutes of the 2007 legislative session.

The new law contains several dangerous provisions.  It targets abortion care providers with unnecessary regulations that will likely force the closure of two clinics, making it even harder for Missouri women to obtain safe, professional abortion care.  It also abolishes the current requirement that sex-education programs in Missouri public schools include "the latest medically factual information regarding both the possible side effects and health benefits of all forms of contraception,” and allows school districts to opt instead for “abstinence-only” programs that Congress and several states have found to be ineffective in preventing sexual activity, pregnancy, and STDs.

A particularly troubling provision of the new law would severely limit the definition of medical emergency, defining it as what is necessary only prevent the death or "irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.”

NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri executive director Pamela Sumners expressed dismay at the Missouri General Assembly’s “unfortunate lack of judgment” and what she called “perverted priorities.”

“Instead of continuing its campaign against women’s access to safe, professional abortion care, the Missouri General Assembly and Governor Matt Blunt should put prevention first and actually assist women in taking personal responsibility for their reproductive healthcare by helping them to prevent unintended pregnancies.  This can be done by legislating family panning budgets instead of slashing them, by teaching about contraception in our school sex-ed programs, and by making access to emergency contraception available.  At every turn, the General Assembly is on the wrong side of these issues,” Sumners said.  

Throughout the legislative session, NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri members fought against HB1055.  Hundreds of its members lobbied their legislators at the Capitol, and last week, the group delivered thousands of petitions stretching over 2000 feet long, to the governor and to state senators asking them to vote to protect access to birth control and to oppose abortion bans.  The group arranged hundreds of phone calls to legislators urging them to vote against H.B. 1055 in the final weeks of the session.

“We’ve delivered thousands of petitions, emails, mobilized thousands for lobbying, rallies, and phone calls to legislators.  The public is calling, but they’re not getting the message.  The General Assembly is out of step with the commonsense Midwestern values of Missourians.  The vast majority of people support birth control, support age-appropriate sex ed, and do not want to see abortion bans or to see women’s health sacrificed to bad medical care,” Sumners said.  “Fortunately, there are elections, and the people are often better than some extremist elements of the legislature,” Sumners said.

Contact:  Pamela Sumners, Esq. at 312-213-1725 or Jeff Farris at 314-614-0761

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