Joe Ortwerth's
 Jeff City Update
Missouri Family E-News February 9, 2009
House Commitee Approves Anti-FOCA Resolution
A committee of the Missouri House of Representatives has endorsed a resolution opposing the federal "Freedom of Choice Act."  The measure now goes to the full House where it is expected to be debated this week.   The Special Committee on Children and Families adopted language proposed by Representative Bob Dixon of Springfield callling on Congress to reject the FOCA legislation.  FOCA would establish abortion on demand as a "fundamental right" under federal law, and would nullify virtually all state laws governing the practice of abortion.  These include laws informing women of the nature and risks of abortion, and alternatives to the procedure.  Representatives Cynthia Davis, Ed Emery, Doug Ervin, Therese Sanders, Mike McGhee, and Jeff Grisamore voted for the resolution.  Representatives Jill Schupp, Steve Webb, Margo McNeill, and Michael George Corcoran voted against the resolution.  Representative Davis, who is the chairwoman of the committee, had offered a resolution of her own simiilar to that submitted by Representative Dixon.        
Missouri Churches Host National Marriage Conference
Thirteen Missouri churches are serving as host sites for the "Focus on Marriage Conference" sponsored by Focus on the Family.  The conference will be simulcast to churches across the country on Saturday, February 28th, from 8:30 to 3:30.  The theme is "Seeing Your Marriage Through the Eyes of God."  Featured speakers will be Dr. Gary Smalley, Beth Moore, Dr. John Trent, and Dr. Del Tackett.  Missouri churches participating are West Springs Church of Ballwin, First Baptist Church of Branson, Fairview Christian Church of Carthage, First Baptist Church of Fulton, Faith Fellowship of Houston, East Side Baptist Church of Independence, Rehoboth Baptist Church of Kirksville, The Church at Osage Hills of Osage Beach, First Baptist Church of Poplar Bluff, First Baptist Church of Sikeston, Springhill Baptist Church of Springfield, Grace Evangelical Church of St. Joseph, and Cedar Grove Baptist Church of Warsaw.  For more information on the event, go to the Focus on the Family website at www.focusonthefamily.com
and click on the "Focus on Marriage Conference" listing on the bottom right hand corner of the home page. 
Missouri Legislator "Honored" by Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood of Southwest Missouri recently "honored" State Representative Sara Lampe of Springfield.    Lampe was presented with the organization's first "Champion of Choice Award" for her leadership in "pro-choice advocacy."  Please pray for Representative Lampe that she will reflect on the value of human life, and have compasion on children who are mercilessly destroyed in their mother's womb. 
Thank You for Making Us Feel at Home 
We have been extremely grateful for the wonderful response we have received to our Jeff City Updates. Our goal is to furnish you with important information on issues and people in state government from a Christian values perspective.
During the legislative session, we will send you weekly reports from our State Capitol.  When the Legislature is out of session, we will provide you with periodic updates on issues of concern to Christian families and citizens in Missouri.
We hope you continue to find the Jeff City Update to be informative and instructive.  Should you have any questions or comments, please contact us by e-mail at info@missourifamily.org, by phone at (636) 536-0014, or by mail at the address below. 
Please be in prayer for our ministry as we seek to promote Biblical principles and Christian convictions in the hallways of our State Capitol.  Please also be praying for our elected leaders as we seek to minister to them in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
Legislation Offered to Require Ultrasounds Prior to Abortions
Legislation has been introduced in the Missouri General Assembly which would require that abortion-minded women be offered the opportunity to see ultrasounds of their child.  The provision is part of a comprehensive informed consent measure which was adopted by the Missouri House of Representatives last session, but was not taken up by the Senate by the end of session.  The proposal has been re-introduced in the Senate by Senator Rob Mayer of Dexter as Senate Bill 264 and in the House by Representative Bryan Pratt of Blue Springs as House Bill 434.  Senator Mayer is highly respected by his colleagues and has been an extraordinary friend of the pro-life cause. Representative Pratt is the Speaker Pro Tem of the House, and has used his position to provide valuable support to pro-life and pro-family efforts.
Under the proposal, abortion clinics would be required to provide a woman the experience of seeing an ultrasound of her child and hearing the heartbeat of her child at least 24 hours prior to the abortion procedure.  Statistics suggest that more than 70% of women who see an ultrasound of their child choose to carry their pregnancy to term.  They are confronted with the stark reality that what they are watching is a somebody, not a something.  Women quickly form a natural emotional bond with their own offspring, and choose to give birth to the child.
Another provision in the bill would require that women be informed in much more detail of the risks and consequences of abortion.  Recent studies reveal that women who have previous abortions have an elevated incidence of premature births, low birth-weight babies, miscarriages, and inability to conceive.  Women are entitled to know not only about the humanity of the unborn child, but also about the long-term harm that can be done to future plans to have children. 
Yet another section of the informed consent bills call for women to be given detailed information about agencies offering alternatives to abortion services such as pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes, and adoption agencies.  Women contemplating late-term abortions would also be told that their child may experience intense pain.  All of the information required to be provided to the woman will be included in printed materials or informational videos developed by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.  The abortion clinic must furnish these written materials or videos to the woman 24 hours prior to the abortion.
The informed consent provisions of each bill were primarily developed by the Missouri Family Policy Council in consultation with the Americans United for Life organization in Chicago.
The bills also create the crime of coercing an abortion.  It makes it a crime to perform an act intended to cause a woman to seek or obtain an abortion against her will.  Many women who arrive at abortion clinics are there because they have been pressured to obtain an abortion by a boyfriend, husband, parent, or grandparent. There have even been incidents widely reported across the country of women being threatened with the loss of jobs, scholarships, and other support if they do not abort their child. 
The anti-coercion provisions of the bill were primarily developed by Sam Lee of Campaign Life Missouri and Larry Weber of the Missouri Catholic Conference.
States with strong informed consent provisions such as those contained in this bill have seen a reduction in abortions of as much as 20%.   That is because women are being told the truth about abortion and making educated decisions.  Women are entitled to know the truth about a matter with such grave consequences to their child and their own future.
Please pray that our legislators will prioritize this proposal and enact it into law this year.  Pray that they will understand that the truth sets people free.  In this case, the truth frees women from the lies of the abortion industry and the lifelong damage and distress that so often accompanies the abortion decision.