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Missouri Right to Life End of Session Wrap-Up

Women and unborn children won a victory in the 2011 legislative session when passage of legislation to curtail late-term abortions passed with veto-proof majorities in both the House and the Senate! God blessed our efforts and more innocent babies will be saved from the horrendous death of a late-term abortion. God is good! All the time!

Ban on Late-Term Abortion Passes Both House and Senate:
SB 65, sponsored by Senate Pro-Tem Robert Mayer and HB 213, sponsored by House Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones prohibits abortions on viable unborn children after 20 weeks gestation except if a mother’s life is in danger or if a continuation of the pregnancy will create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function. MRL has called upon Governor Nixon to sign this important pro-life legislation.

Alternatives to Abortion Funding:
The Missouri legislature is to be commended for continuing to fund the Alternatives to Abortion Program (A2A) through the appropriation process. Considering the economy, it is especially commendable for Missouri legislators to maintain $1,583,561 dollars for our Pregnancy Resource Centers to help women in crisis pregnancies choose life for their unborn children with a wide range of services. The oversight of disbursements for the A2A program has been moved from the Department of Health and Senior Services to the Office of Administration with hopes that the disbursements will be easier to receive.

Recognition of Pregnancy Resource Centers:
Missouri Legislators put forth a resolution (HR 1826) sponsored by Representative Thomas Long to recognize the great and honorable work of Missouri Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRC’s). While it is an honor for PRC’s and all the volunteers to be acknowledged for the high calling of their work, the resolution is simply a statement recognizing this very important life-saving work. Congratulations to these volunteers for this recognition.

Restrictions on Funding for Human Cloning and Embryonic Stem Cell Research:
Missouri Right to Life placed pro-life protective language in the Department of Economic Development budget bill (HB 7) on one line of funding for the Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC). The MTC is the quasi-governmental organization that the legislators are authorizing to administer and distribute public monies. The MTC is a leading proponent of unethical research and Amendment 2.

Umbilical Cord Blood Banking:
HB 197, sponsored by Representative Tishaura Jones and Senator Jim Lembke who sponsored the Senate equivalent, requires the Department of Health and Senior Services to post on its website education about the benefits of umbilical cord blood banking and resources available for those who seek to do this. Umbilical Cord Blood is adult stem cell research that does not require the destruction of human lives.

Economic Development Legislation without Pro-Life Language Fails to Pass:
The Missouri Science Innovation & Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA) is legislation that has been brought up in the Missouri legislature for the last two years but has never passed both houses. MOSIRA sets up a fund and a process by which companies that deal in research (plant, agriculture, or life science) can invest money into a state fund that would then be used for start-up money for research business incubators. Many of these business incubators will spring from within universities in Missouri – such as Washington University and University of Missouri in Columbia and K.C. This fund is administered by The Missouri Technology Corporation who will decide who receives the public money it controls.

Missouri Right to Life worked to add protective language to the MOSIRA legislation that would prevent any public funds from being used for unethical research. The language that we proposed is language that the legislature successfully included in previous legislation establishing The Life Science Research Trust Fund in 2003. Other groups proposed language that instead of prohibiting unethical research, required enhanced reporting requirements.

MOSIRA passed the House with the reporting requirement but no pro-life protection, but was not taken up in the Senate because they ran out of time.

Included in MOSIRA was a provision extending the tax credits for pregnancy resource centers which are set to expire in 2012. MRL strongly supports passage of those tax credits but not at the cost of public funding of unethical research.

Other Legislation:
Missouri Right to Life worked for passage of the following legislation as well. In the end, these important pro-life issues failed to pass but they will be brought back next year.
HB 28 – Pharmacy Conscience Clause, Sponsored by Rep. David Sater
HB 328 – Regulation of RU486, Sponsored by Rep. Andrew Koenig
HB 483 – Reporting requirement of federal tax dollars used for abortion, sponsored by Rep. Stanley Cox
HB 515 – Promotion of Embryo Adoption for fertility clinic embryos as opposed to using those embryos for Embryonic Stem Cell Research, sponsored by Rep. Wayne Wallingford
HB 755 – Specifies that moneys generated by the Spinal Cord Injury Fund or granted by Univ. of MO Board of Curators for research programs not be used for abortion or human cloning research, sponsored by Rep. Melissa Leach
SB 204 – Extension of Pregnancy Resource Center Tax Credits, Sponsored by Sen. Tom Dempsey (In the end, the extension for these tax credits was added to the economic development legislation which would have placed MOSIRA in statute for open-ended funding to those who seek to do human cloning and embryonic stem cell research).

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