JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Leadership of the oldest and largest grassroots network in Missouri, Missouri Right to Life (MRL), sent a letter to Senate members Wednesday asking them to take legislative action to “address the scandalous prospect of the sale of baby body parts by Planned Parenthood.”
The letter came from MRL President Steve Rupp, MRL Political Action Committee (PAC) Chairman Dave Plemmons, Legislative Director Gerald Nieters, and Legislative Liaison Susan Klein, who stated “profound disappointment and amazement” at the lack of legislative action from the Senate.
The group acknowledged budgetary steps taken, but appealed the need for the HB 2069, sponsored by Rep. Diane Franklin, R-Camdenton. The bill passed out of the House on a 123-22 vote on April 12.
“For many months, Missourians have seen and heard continual press reports of the Sanctity of Life Committee, the videos of Planned Parenthood and their flagrant disregard for the lives of the unborn that they reduce to commodities, and the resistance of accountability from Planned Parenthood leadership and the pathology labs with whom they contract,” read the letter. “We have seen substantial laws enacted recently in neighboring states like Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas that promote the protection of the unborn in meaningful ways. Yet it seems there is an arbitrary resistance to such efforts in the Missouri Senate. MRL and the voters are curious as to why.”
In addition to questioning the lack of action, the letter reminded Senate members of MRL PAC’s grassroots campaign influence.
“Each election year, there is a mad dash for each conservative candidate, including current officeholders to proclaim themselves as a ‘Pro-Life’ champion and a warrior for ‘values.’ The Missouri Right to Life Political Action Committee (MRL PAC) would like to be able to communicate with voters how committed the Missouri legislators are to advancing Pro-Life legislation. It looks as though the Missouri Senate will prevent such proclamations from being made in 2016.”
MRL leadership wrote that there is still time for the Senate to pass the bill, stating plainly there “is no reason for such a majority, that has been elected by hundreds of thousands of Pro-Life voters, should not pass this common-sense legislation to guard against the abuses perpetrated by Planned Parenthood.”
Planned Parenthood expressed dismay at the push for the bill, hoping the legislature will focus on other priorities.
“This group of extremists fails to represent the majority of Missourians who support Planned Parenthood’s mission to provide high quality, specialized health care for tens of thousands of women, men and young people,” said Sarah Felts, statewide communications coordinator for Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri. “Planned Parenthood Advocates urges both Missouri Right to Life and the Legislature to focus on issues that will actually improve Missourians’ health and wellbeing, like increasing access to birth control and expanding Medicaid. While groups that want to ban all abortion desperately cling to a widely discredited lie in an attempt to further their extreme agenda against Planned Parenthood, the people of Missouri expect their legislators to spend taxpayer time and money wisely.”
PICTURED: Rep. Diane Franklin speaks at a pro-life rally in front of the Columbia Planned Parenthood July 28, 2015.
Rachael Herndon is the editor at The Missouri Times, and also produces This Week in Missouri Politics, publishes Missouri Times Magazine, and co-hosts the #moleg podcast. She joined the Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer.
Rachael studied at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children.
To contact Rachael, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Twitter @TheRachDunn.