Op-Ed: Why you should support SB 5

  

There has been a great deal of talk about the Second Special Session in the Missouri Legislature. Some claim it’s a waste of money and time, and if protecting property rights and women’s health is a waste of time, then I guess it is. However, I don’t feel that way.

During this Special Session which deals with abortion facilities in Missouri, my Committee on Children and Families listened to over 14 hours of testimony on various House Bills and Senate Bill 5 which is now back in the Missouri Senate.

Rep. Diane Franklin speaks on SB 5 during the second special session June 20, 2017. (Courtesy of Tim Bommel/House Communications)

Several mistruths have been put out about SB 5, to include that if passed, women in Missouri could be denied renting a home/apartment and denied employment if they have ever had an abortion or take birth control. Skipping how many state and federal laws would have to be broken for this to actually happen, NARAL has since said that is not the case and news organizations like Newsweek and the Associated Press have retracted or corrected their stories on it.

What SB 5 actually does is say that if an individual in St. Louis City has commercial property for rent, they have the right to not rent to an abortion facility, just as they have the right to not rent to a pornography shop, tobacco shop, liquor store and numerous other things. Currently with the bill passed in the City of St. Louis, an individual does not have that right when it comes to abortion clinics, this bill will correct that. I feel that is a basic property rights issue of the individual in the City of St. Louis.

SB 5 also allows the Department of Health to do unannounced inspections of abortion facilities. Currently, because of a recent court ruling, these facilities are not inspected. How can anyone that cares about women’s health say that where they go for medical treatment shouldn’t be inspected? That, and when you take into consideration the large number of violations the Planned Parenthood Clinic in St. Louis has received for things like rusty examination tables, rusty instruments, outdated medicine, one-time use medicine still being in the facility, among other things, I think they need inspected.

This bill will also make sure that when an ambulance is called because of an emergency at the abortion clinic, they are to respond as they would with any emergency. Currently they are requested to not use lights or sirens when going to the Planned Parenthood facility to pick up a patient. Considering they have been called over 60 times to pick up a patient having complications that include abdominal pain, fainting, hemorrhage and pregnancy-related bleeding from an abortion since 2009, I feel getting them to a hospital for treatment as soon as possible is very important.

So, with all of the rhetoric about is this Special Session needed, personally I feel it is. While I wish we were reducing the number of abortions in Missouri, this bill does nothing to do that, it was not in the Governor’s Call. So, with that said, I have a hard time understanding how anyone, regardless of which side of the abortion argument they are on, can be against making sure that if a women decides to have an abortion, it is as safe as possible. That is, unless they just prefer to go without answering to anyone.

If you are like me and feel this legislation will protect a woman’s health, I would encourage you to contact your Senator and ask them to support SB 5.

Respectfully,
Diane Franklin
State Representative
123rd District of Missouri