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Missouri Family E-NewsJune 21, 2010
FDA Gives Early Green Light to New Abortion
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given its initial endorsement to a new abortion drug that will be marketed as "emergency contraception."  Known as Ella (or ulipristal), the drug operates as an abortifacient, breaking down the lining of the uterus so that implantation of a fertilized ovum will not succeed.
The French drug company that manufactures Ella claims that it will prevent pregnancy if taken within five days after sexual relations.  Plan B (the so-called morning-after pill) which is currently on the market is supposedly only "effective" if taken within three days.  Plan B is currently available over the counter, except for girls younger than 17.
The FDA staff has concluded that ulipristal has no unexpected side effects.  This is the same FDA that said the same thing about the RU-486 abortion pill that not only kills unborn children, but has caused the deaths of numerous women.  Mailee Smith of Americans United for Life has described Ella as "the next generation of RU-486."
The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists contend that the Ella drug poses a number of safety issues.  The group is challenging the FDA to require that the potential sale of Ella include the highest black box warning.
In a letter to the FDA, AAPLOG says, "Adverse events reported during clinical trials include a profile of increased infections and bleeding disturbances not surprisingly similar to the adverse events reported for [RU-486]...Even more disturbing are the reports of...ovarian cyst formation in clinical trial participants." AAPLOG is also concerned that women with more advanced pregnancies will use the drug to induce abortions, placing themselves at risk for life-threatening complications.
Jeaanne Monahan, director of the Family Research Council's Center for Human Dignity, says that women are entitled to the real facts about how Ella works.  "The difference between preventing life and destroying life is hugely significant to many women.  They deserve to know that difference."
Federal Officials Oppose Change in Blood Donor Guidelines
Federal health authorities have rebuffed a campaign by homosexual activists to change federal blood donation regulations.  The federal Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability has voted to maintain current policies that apply to blood donors.
Current policy provides that men who have had sexual contact with other men at any time since 1977 are prohibited from acting as blood donors, due to the high rates of HIV infection in that population.  Senator John Kerry and a homosexual rights group called the Gay Men's Health Crisis had pushed for active homosexuals to be accepted as blood donors.
Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council, says that this is one instance where commonsense has triumphed over political correctness.  Sprigg reports that testimony heard by the committee proved that there is no alternative screening policy that would protect the safety of the nation's blood supply.
"The principal motivation of those who seek a change in the current policy is to reduce what they perceive as 'discrimination.'", Sprigg says.  "However, the blood donation policy does not exist to serve socio-political purposes.  [Such] concerns about discrimination cannot be allowed to trump the health of those who need life-saving blood transfusions."
The Food and Drug Administration's own statistics reveal that men who have had sex with other men have an HIV prevalence 60 times higher than the general population, 800 times higher than first time blood donors, and 8000 times higher than repeat blood donors." 
State Legislature Votes to Exclude Missouri from Federal Abortion Mandate
Missourians will not be required to subsidize abortion through health insurance policies sold in the state under a bill adopted by the Missouri Legislature.  The legislation, which is awaiting action by Governor Jay Nixon, would prohibit federally-subsidized health plans authorized under the new federal health care bill from including abortion coverage.
"This legislation protects Missouri's longstanding desire not to use taxpayer dollars to fund abortions, and it's especially important now that the federal health care mandate attempts to do just that," says Senator Scott Rupp of Wentzville, the sponsor of the pro-life measure.
President Obama's recently enacted federal health care law, known as the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," establishes health insurance exchanges in each state.  Insurance policies marketed through those plans benefit from federal subsidies.  Individuals of low-to-moderate income are eligible to receive refundable tax credits and cost-sharing reductions which they may use to purchase abortion coverage. 
In addition, if a health insurance company offers a plan that includes abortion coverage, they are required under the new federal law to impose a separate abortion premium.  This abortion surcharge must be collected from every enrollee in the plan regardless of their age, gender, or family status.
In an effort to placate pro-life forces in his own party, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid inserted language into the federal bill allowing states to opt out of the abortion mandate provisions.  The language provides that "a state may elect to prohibit abortion coverage in qualified health plans offered through an exchange in such state if such state enacts a law to provide for such prohibition."
That's exactly what Senator Rupp's proposal does.  It stipulates that "no health insurance exchange established in the state or any health insurance exchange administered by the federal government or its agencies shall offer health insurance contracts, plans, or policies that provide coverage for elective abortions."
Senator Rupp's bill, Senate Bill 747, was amended late in the session to the major pro-life ultrasound bill sponsored by Senator Rob Mayer.  That proposal was then adopted by the Missouri Senate on a 32-1 vote, and then endorsed by the Missouri House of Representatives by a vote of 114-39.  It now awaits action by Governor Nixon, who can either sign the bill, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature.
Should Nixon sign the bill, Missouri would likely become the fifth state to opt out of the federal abortion mandate.  Arizona, Mississippi, and Tennessee have already done so, and Louisiana's bill is expected to be signed by Governor Bobby Jindal at any time.
Missouri has a long history of protecting its citizens from underwriting the killing of preborn children through their health insurance premiums.  A law adopted by the General Assembly in 1983 prohibited elective abortion coverage in health insurance policies issued in the state except through an optional rider.  The Rupp proposal prohibits coverage through riders in the new health insurance exchanges as well, since the policies would be subsidized by taxpayers.
Studies have shown that fewer than 15% of abortions performed each year are paid for through health insurance.  Nearly 60% of women paid for abortions out of their own pocket.  However, surveys also show that as many as 87% of employer-based group health insurance plans do cover abortions.  Many of these plans are exempt from aspects of state regulation under a federal law known as ERISA.
We commend Senator Rupp for his leadership in addressing this issue, along with Representative Darrell Pollock of Lebanon, who introduced identical legislation in the House.  The Missouri Family Policy Council worked with Senator Rupp to introduce this legislation at his request, and it was the first such opt-out bill introduced in any state legislature.
We also commend Senate and House leaders for recognizing the urgency of this issue this session and giving it expedited attention. The Senate advanced Senator Rupp's legislation out of committee the very day after the U.S. Congress gave final approval to President Obama's health care bill.
Since the Supreme Court Roe v Wade decision that legalized abortion, taxpayers have not been compelled to pay for the destruction of unborn children.  Under the Obama health care bill, for the first time, taxpayers are forced to underwrite abortion coverage in federally-prescribed, federally-managed, and federally-financed health insurance plans.
If Governor Nixon signs the opt-out legislation, Missouri taxpayers will not be required to subsidize the practice of abortion within our state.  Yet Missouri taxpayers will still be forced to pay for abortion paid for through federally-subsidized health plans in other states where similar opt-out legislation is not adopted.  
As we have stated before, the new federal health care plan engineers a sordid partnership between the federal government, the health insurance community, and the abortion industry.  The taxpayer-supported inclusion of abortion in conventional health insurance plans will institutionalize the abortion procedure as a standard health care benefit.  The enactment of Missouri's opt-out law will at least disengage our state from this blood-thirsty business.
We encourage you to contact Governor Nixon and ask him to sign Senate Substitute for Senate Bill 793.  In addition to the abortion mandate opt-out, the legislation greatly strengthens Missouri's informed consent law on abortion.  Women will be told the truth about the nature, the risks, the consequences, and the alternatives to abortion.   
You can contact Governor Nixon by using this link:
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