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Missouri Family E-News November 16, 2009
 
 
Casino Executive Threatens County Councilman 
 
The chief executive officer of a casino conglomerate has resigned after an incident with a St. Louis County Councilman.  Daniel R. Lee, the chairman of Pinnacle Entertainment, has announced he is leaving the company to "pursue other business interests."  Pinnacle owns and operates the Lumiere Place casino in downtown St. Louis and will soon be opening another casino, River City Casino, in the Lemay area of south St. Louis County.
 
Lee gained unwelcome attention following a recent St. Louis County Council meeting.  The County Council had just voted to re-zone land in north St. Louis County for the potential seting of yet another casino there, which would provide competition for Pinnacle's regional casino interests.
 
Following the vote and while the council was still in session, Lee ran toward the dais and angrily confronted Councilman Steve Stenger, who had voted in favor of the bill. He then told an aide to Stenger: "He just made the worst move of his political career.  I won't forget this.  I never forget things like this."  Stenger represents the area where Pinnacle's Lemay casino is being built.  Lee later apologized for his actions in an e-mail sent to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
 
State Senator Tim Green of north St. Louis County has called on the Missouri Gaming Commission to investigate the incident.  He said that Lee's apology "does not dismiss the seriousness of this threat...We can't allow special interests to threaten elected officials." 
 
 
 
 

Federal Court Nixes Abortion Clinic "Buffer Zone"

A federal appeals court has blocked enforcement of a Pittsburgh City ordinance that restricted access to public areas surrounding abortion clinics.  The law was challenged by Mary Kathryn Brown, a pro-life nurse who engaged in sidewalk counseling outside the clinic.
 
The ordinance prohibited individuals from standing or speaking within 15 feet of an entrance to an abortion facility.  It also established a 100 foot "buffer zone" where individuals had to obtain consent to approach a person at a distance closer than eight feet.  
 
The U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals issued a permanent injunction against the ordinance, saying that the burdens placed on free speech were "unprecedented and unduly and unconstitutionally onerous." 
 
Alliance Defense Fund attorney David Cortman, who represented Ms. Brown, commended the court decision.  "The decision is significant because the court drew a well-needed line in the sand that cities may not cross...This ordinance violated the free speech rights of pro-life advocates by zoning them out of areas where they have a First Amendment right to speak."
 
The U.S. Supreme Court has previously upheld "buffer zone" legislation.  However, the 3rd Circuit concluded that the Pittsburgh ordinance was written so broadly that it amounted to an unconstitutional infringement on free speech.
 
 
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Missouri Congressmen Take Stand Against Abortion in Federal Health Care Plan
 
Six of Missouri's nine congressmen have taken a firm stand against the inclusion of abortion coverage in federal health care legislation being promoted by the Obama Administration.  Congressmen Todd Akin, Roy Blunt, Sam Graves, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Ike Skelton, and Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson voted for an amendment prohibiting the use of federal health insurance funding for elective abortions. 
 
The amendment was offered by Congressman Bart Stupak of Michigan, and was approved by the U. S. House of Representatives by a vote of 240-194.  This was an impressive show of support for the pro-life position, with 64 Democrats joining 176 Republicans in supporting the amendment.  
 
Missouri Congressmen Russ Carnahan, William "Lacy" Clay, and Emmanuel Cleaver voted in favor of taxpayer funding for abortion.
 
The Stupak amendment bans the use of federal funds for abortions in the so-called "public option" health care plan.  The language reads:  "No funds authorized or appropriated [by the bill] may be used to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion."   Exceptions are made for instances of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.
 
Individuals may still purchase separate supplemental coverage for abortions, but can only do so as long as such coverage is paid for entirely from non-federal funds and is not subsidized by federal tax credits (called "affordability credits") created under the bill.
 
Throughout the debate over the Obama health care proposal, proponents have insisted that the various plans did not include abortion coverage.  Yet amendments were repeatedly defeated that would have spelled that out in clear terms.  As it turns out, the health care bill championed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi actually required that a monthly abortion premium be charged to all enrollees in the "public option" plan, as well as those selecting private plans participating in the Health Insurance Exchange established under the bill.
 
The fact that federally funded abortion was always a key part of the Obama health care agenda has been illustrated by the furious reaction of pro-abortion groups to the passage of the Stupak Amendment.  President Obama had promised the Planned Parenthood Federation of America that "reproductive health care" would be a centerpiece of federal health insurance reform efforts.
 
Aside from the immoral consequences of forcing taxpayers to fund the killing of preborn children, the issue of health insurance coverage of abortion is huge.  Studies have shown that less than 15 percent of abortions are paid for through insurance coverage.  Establishing abortion as just another procedure covered under both public and private medical insurance plans would greatly increase the accessibility and frequency of abortions.
 
The Pelosi health care bill squeaked through the House on a narrow vote of 220-215, and the debate now shifts to the Senate, where the discussion will be more extended.  Prospects there for the pro-life amendment and the "public option" bill itself are less promising.  It is critical that Missouri citizens make known their sentiments to their U.S. Senators on the proposed "abortion bailout."
 
It is expected that Senator Kit Bond will likely oppose any government-run health insurance bill and at the same time support amendments excluding abortion coverage.  It is expected that Senator Claire McCaskill will support a "public option" bill, and oppose a pro-life amendment.
 
Upon passage of the Stupak Amendment, McCaskill initially said she didn't think it would kill prospects for passage of a government-managed health care plan. She stated "this is just another example of having to govern with moderates...We can't turn our back on the fact that the reason we [Democrats] are in the majority is because states like...Missouri...sent Democrats to the Senate."  Yet she has now backtracked and stated she could not support passage of the bill with the Stupak language. 
 
We strongly urge you to contact Senators Bond and McCaskill and urge them to support the Stupak Amendment in the Senate. 
 
You can contact Senator Bond by calling (202) 224-5721 or send an e-mail by going to this web address:  http://bond.senate.gov/public/
 
You can contact Senator McCaskill by calling (202) 224-6154 or send an e-mail by going to this web address:  http://mccaskill.senate.gov/
 
Your response is vital.  It is a blight on this nation's conscience that our nation's highest court has declared that the destruction of the life of an unborn child is a constitutional right.  It would be a horrible injustice if our federal government would now bankroll the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent children each year.  
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