Soon after the session began, HHS Director Kathleen Sebelius issued a mandate that all religious institutions would be required to cover abortion services, contraception and sterilization procedures beginning August 1. The issuance of this mandate by the Obama administration caused pro-life legislators to file a variety of legislation to protect Missouri citizens from this unconstitutional, immoral infringement of our religious liberties.
During the final hours of the session, the Missouri Legislature passed SB 749. While this legislation will not overturn the HHS mandate, it sends a strong message to Washington that Missouri will not tolerate this attack against our religious liberty. It also gives Missouri individuals, businesses and institutions standing in the courts to file suit if they oppose enforcement of this mandate and requires businesses to notify participants if any plan covers abortion.
SB 749 passed both chambers by a vote of twenty-eight out of 34 senators and 105 out of 163 state representatives.
The House version of the bill contained additional provisions strengthening conscience protections for pharmacists, medical professionals and researchers. However, this good language was opposed by Senate leadership and was cut out of the bill in conference committee.
Senate Republican leadership made a deal with pro-abortion Democrats that no other pro-life legislation would be passed if SB 749 was allowed to move forward killing many good pro-life bills. Trying to overcome and bypass this deal made in the Senate, pro-life amendments were placed on numerous bills in the last days and hours of this session.
Legislative victories in addition to SB749 include:
- Continued funding of the Alternatives to Abortion program with $1.6 million dollars which includes funding for advertising this important program so that women in crisis pregnancies know that there is help for them to choose life for their babies.
- Requiring the Missouri Technology Corporation to continue to abide by the pro-life protections of 196.1127 language that says that you cannot grant state monies to any business that intends to or will do human cloning, embryonic stem cell research or abortion services.
Many opportunities to save lives through legislation were left lying on the legislative calendar. Among others these include:
- Solid conscience protections for medical professionals and researchers,
- Ban on Tele-Med/Video Conferencing Abortions
- Multiple Versions of State’s Rights Bills Challenging the Constitutionality of Obamacare
- Tracking of Federal Grant Monies in order to be diverted from abortion providers to alternative to abortion agencies
- Protections for pharmacies not to be forced to carry abortion drugs,
- Further extension of PRC tax credits,
- Protection for Pregnancy Resource Center’s agencies and personnel from harassing regulations by local governments because of moral differences.
We thank all legislators who worked so diligently to pass lifesaving legislation during this session.