Sen. Dave Schatz’s Column for July 14: Fighting for Life

Schatz- weeklyColumn

Fighting for Life

Protecting innocent life has always been a priority of mine even before I became a lawmaker. As a prolife legislator in the Senate, I believe all lives are valuable. Abortion is a permanent and life-changing decision for a woman and her child. That’s why the Senate has worked diligently to protect the lives of unborn children in Missouri.

One of biggest successes this past session was defunding abortion providers in the state. We effectively became one of a few states to defund Planned Parenthood while increasing state funding for comprehensive women’s health care. Currently, the state funds women’s health services using $2 million of the state’s General Revenue and $8 million of federal money for a total of $10 million. Because $8 million comes from the federal government, they tell us how we can and can’t spend the money. We decided instead to opt-out of the $8 million from the federal government and replace that $8 million with state funds. Now the Legislature can increase the funding to facilities that provide comprehensive women’s health care instead of sending money to abortion providers.

Women have real choices when it comes to comprehensive health care. The Legislature will distribute the $10 million to Federally Qualified Health Clinics (FQHCs), Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and county health clinics, which will provide women with greater access to more thorough health care, like mammograms and prenatal care, from qualified doctors and nurses. Rural areas tend to have fewer doctors and health professionals in the area. By increasing funding to these facilities, we can ensure the safety and well-being of women living in rural areas by providing quality, comprehensive health care services.

The General Assembly also increased funding to Alternatives to Abortion and other prolife programs to $6.46 million. These programs are designed to assist women in carrying their unborn children to term instead of having abortions. They also aim to reduce abortions across the state and improve pregnancy outcomes. These programs also help improve families’ economic self-sufficiency by aiding parents in continuing their education and job searches.

The Senate also approved resolutions that allowed us to continue our investigation into the appalling practices of Planned Parenthood. The resolutions passed by the Senate represent one more step towards enforcing the subpoenas the President Pro Tem issued to Mary Kogut of Planned Parenthood and Dr. James Miller of Pathology Services. The subpoenas were issued to assist the Senate Interim Committee on the Sanctity of Human Life as it sought to gather outside information important to an investigation. Both continuously refused to comply.

Last week, members of the Sanctity of Life Committee announced their initial results of the investigation into Planned Parenthood’s business model and methods by which they dispose human remains from aborted fetuses and whether any state dollars have been directly used in such activity. The investigation led to some answers, but it’s still unclear what their policy is for disposal of body parts, and we still don’t have confirmation on where those body parts go after leaving the pathologist’s office.

The findings include:

  • Record on the sale of human fetal tissue is full of alarming gaps.
  • Planned Parenthood appears to be out of compliance with state law with its disposal of fetal remains.
  • Internal documents show shocking indifference to women’s health and possible medical malpractice.

As we look at the troubling information the investigation has uncovered, we renew our determination to do all that is within our power to protect all life including women’s health in Missouri. While we have made progress in reducing the number of abortions in Missouri, we still have work to do. Increasing funding to positive prolife programs is a step forward as we seek to protect the lives of the innocent and to provide for women who find themselves in critical and difficult circumstances.

Thank you for reading this weekly column. Please contact my office at (573) 751-3678 if you have any questions.