The Missouri Senate has brought the legislative session to an ugly end.by ramming two right-to-life issues and an English-only proposal to passage in the last hours… The senate has voted to let schools ignored the present state standard of teaching "the latest medically factual information regarding sexually transmitted diseases and the side effects, health benefits, and failure rates for methods of prevent pregnancy and to teach abstinence-only sex education classes.
Senator Jolie Justus of Kansas City argued that the way to prevent future abortions is to prevent unplanned pregnancies. Justus says abstinence-only education, "which is proven not to work" is bad public policy.
The bill also prohibits school districts and charter schools from allowing anyone connected to any entity that provides abortion services from offering, sponsoring, or furnishing sex education course materials.
But she says the bill’s sponsor, Delbert Scott of Lowry City, rejected all efforts at compromise. Scott didn’t have to compromise. He had more than enough votes to win on the issue and quickly filed a motion to keep opponents from debating his bill, forcing an immediate vote which brought passage of the measure.
Scott did the same thing on a second issue, one that will require any doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital that provides medical or surgical abortions to be licensed as ambulatory surgical centers.
Justus objected to licensing places that do not do surgical abortions as ambulatory surgical centers. She told the Senate, before she was prohibited from further arguing the issue, that the bill targets the use of the "abortion pill," RU-486. Justus told the Senate women go through several hours of testing and counseling at doctors’ offices, hospitals, or clinics before they are given the first RU-486 pill. She said the woman, in the privacy of her own home, takes the second pill the next day. No surgery is involved.
She said Scott refused to make a two-word change in the bill that would have eliminated the need of non-surgical medical facilities to be licensed as surgical centers. Justus says the action means that any medical facility that provides only RU-486 and provides no surgical services whatever will come under new regulations that are son "onerous" that there will be only one place left in Missouri where legal abortions can be performed–a facility in St. Louis.
She said she was frustrated by the Senate’s actions because they will only lead to litigation that will have to be fought with taxpayer funds. She said it would cost medical facilities prescribing RU-486 to spend one-half million dollars to become licensed as ambulatory surgical centers will not meet the Constitution’s "rational basis test." Justus says the Senate’s action has no rational basis for the things it is asking those facilities to do.
Scott shrugged off the argument, noting that every right-to-life bill passed by the legislature in the past 30 has faced court challenges from "opponents of life." He said threatened lawsuits do not "protect us from ongoing efforts to protect life."
The English-only proposal, HJR7, will put on next year’s statewide ballot a proposed constitutional amendment saying English will be required for all official proceedings.
(The sex education/surgical center bill is HCS/HB1055)