Senate Majority Caucus Leaders Urge the Attorney General to Appeal Controversial Ruling
JEFFERSON CITY—Senate Leaders today responded to a controversial opinion handed down by federal district Judge Nanette Laughrey. The opinion prevents the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services from revoking the license of Planned Parenthood in Columbia to perform on-site surgical abortions after the department found they were not in compliance with state law.
Senate Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin, expressed skepticism that the judge’s ruling would survive an appeal.
“This decision, while in my view incorrect, was sadly predictable,” said Richard. “This judge has a track record of left-leaning rulings, and I am confident, that if appealed, the higher court will promptly overturn this poorly reasoned opinion.”
In the opinion, the judge took the unusual step of lecturing members of the Missouri Senate for exercising their constitutional authority to investigate concerns that taxpayer funds were being used to subsidize abortions.
“It appears that the court in this instance failed to appreciate the fundamental constitutional authority of the Legislature to speak for the citizens of Missouri and to determine how their tax dollars will be spent,” said Assistant Majority Floor Leader Bob Onder, a member of the Senate Interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life. “There is no question that our constituents do not want their tax dollars being used to subsidize abortions, and we have a duty to make sure that the law as written is being followed.”
As part of its investigation, the Senate Committee on the Sanctity of Life and chairman Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, investigated concerns that Planned Parenthood was selling fetal tissue in violation of state law. It also examined whether the University of Missouri had improperly granted special privileges to abortionists in violation of state law as passed by the Legislature.
“I am proud of the committee’s hard work to discover the truth,” said Schaefer. “Missourians do not want their tax dollars enabling abortion, and I do not believe that the federal government can force Missourians to pay for abortions.”
“The Senate Interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life was commissioned to examine whether Planned Parenthood was in compliance with state law and was charged with reporting back to the full senate,” said Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City. “Sen. Schaefer and the members of the committee worked tirelessly to provide information important to the Senate, and we are grateful for their efforts.”
Senators raised concerns that Attorney General Chris Koster failed to zealously argue the Legislature’s position in court.
“Going back to December, I voiced my concerns to the attorney general that he was failing to adequately represent the Missouri Senate in this matter and asked that he appoint outside counsel to do the job for him,” said Richard. “He declined my request and offered up a weak, timid defense of the Senate’s position – virtually ensuring that the court’s opinion would be unfavorable. Going forward, I strongly encourage Attorney General Koster to appeal the lower court’s decision as soon as possible.”
Lauren Hieger , Senate Majority Caucus Communications Director
(573) 751-7266 – email@example.com