Senator David Sater’s Capitol Report for the Week of April 11: Defunding Planned Parenthood

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JEFFERSON CITY — Many of you remember last summer when videos surfaced of Planned Parenthood executives and employees describing how they sell the body parts of aborted unborn children. These videos were shocking and disturbing and highlight just how casual and callous some are towards the life of a child. In one video, a Planned Parenthood employee casually discusses crushing certain baby body parts during abortions and altering procedures in such a way that those body parts can later be sold to human organ buyers. In another video, the president of the Planned Parenthood Medical Directors Council haggles over payment for the body parts of aborted children and indifferently mentions that she doesn’t want to name a price, because “the person who throws out the figure first is at a loss.” And this organization receives taxpayer money in Missouri.

Planned Parenthood is the most vocal advocate and facilitator of the more than 50 million abortions that have occurred since Roe v. Wade. That’s 50 million children who never had a chance to be born, play with other children, or grow up to have kids of their own because five Supreme Court justices in 1973 decided they didn’t deserve to live. Much of the blame falls right at the feet of Planned Parenthood who view these children as nothing other than “fetuses” with no constitutional rights. Should Missouri be doing business with an organization so inconsistent with our values?

Last week, the Senate made that decision and overwhelmingly voted that Missouri taxpayers are not going to pay Planned Parenthood anymore. Because Medicaid is a federal program and is partially funded through federal tax dollars, the federal government gets to dictate where the money goes. On the other hand, if Missouri is paying for it, we get to decide where it goes and that’s exactly what we did. We are no longer going to accept the federal government’s funding that forces us to pass it along to Planned Parenthood. Instead, we are going to use state money for women’s health services and send it to health care providers that don’t do abortions like Federally Qualified Health Clinics (FQHCs), Rural Health Clinics and local public health agencies.

The people of Missouri have spoken loud and clear that they don’t want their money to go to Planned Parenthood. With the state budget we passed last week, we’ve accomplished that goal. I am proud to have served on the Appropriations Committee where we got this done and proud to say, once again, Missouri is leading the way in the fight to protect life.

Getting back to the videos that revealed Planned Parenthood’s potential involvement in the harvesting of body parts of aborted children, I was appointed Vice-Chair of the Senate Interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life to investigate whether any organization or department in Missouri was involved in this. As part of our investigation, we subpoenaed Mary Kogut of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Dr. James Miller of Pathology Services, Inc., to answer questions about what they are doing with the remains of aborted children. Instead of coming before the committee and answering questions, both chose to dodge those questions and ignore the subpoenas.

In response, Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, Chairman of the Sanctity of Life Committee, filed two Senate Resolutions, SR 1793 and SR 1794, which summon both Kogut and Miller to appear before the Senate to show cause for why they should not be punished for contempt. The resolutions would also authorize the Senate President Pro Tem and the Secretary of the Senate to initiate the necessary process to bring them before the Senate. The General Assembly is authorized by the Missouri Constitution to arrest and punish a person guilty of contempt by a fine not exceeding $300 or imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding 10 days, or both.

The solution is simple; Kogut and Miller should respect the laws of this state, honor the subpoenas and appear before the Senate to answer questions. The people of Missouri deserve to know whether our laws are being broken, whether medical standards are being met, and whether women’s health is being protected.

Like many of the people I have the honor of representing, the sanctity of human life is very important to me. I believe that life begins at conception and that is a principle upon which I cannot compromise. Our efforts to end taxpayer subsidizing of Planned Parenthood and investigate whether entities in Missouri are breaking our law in the harvesting or disposal of aborted children, along with pro-life legislation passed over the past several years, demonstrates the Missouri General Assembly’s commitment to protecting life. Missouri is one of the most pro-life states in the country and your state legislature reflects those values.

As always, I welcome your ideas, questions and concerns about Missouri government. You may contact me at the State Capitol as follows: (573) 751-1480, or by writing to Sen. David Sater, Missouri State Capitol, Room 419, Jefferson City, MO 65101.