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Missouri Family E-News September 6, 2010

Columbia Planned Parenthood Clinic Suspends Abortion Operations

The Columbia Missourian newspaper has confirmed what pro-life activists have been reporting: The Planned Parenthood clinic in Columbia has ceased performing abortions. Planned Parenthood officials acknowledge that they stopped providing "abortion services" weeks ago. Peter Brownlie, President of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, says that the organization has temporarily suspended its abortion operations because of "scheduling issues." Brownlie would not predict when Planned Parenthood would resume providing abortions, but said he did not expect the hiatus to be a lengthy one. Brownlie denies that Missouri's new informed consent law has anything to do with the suspension of abortion operations. That law, which took effect on August 28th, requires that women considering abortion meet in person with a "qualified professional" 24 hours before the abortion procedure. During the visit, abortion providers are mandated to provide women with a packet of information detailing the humanity of the unborn child, the risks of abortion, and alternatives to the abortion procedure. Women must also be given an opportunity to view an active ultrasound image of their child. Planned Parenthood officials had acknowledged previously that the clinic was hampered by staffing shortages. Pro-life activists have been reporting for several weeks that no abortions were being scheduled. Women were being told that no doctor was available to perform abortions and that the clinic was dealing with equipment problems as well. Kathy Forck, a pro-life leader in mid-Missouri, states that no abortionist has appeared at the Columbia clinic since August 9th. Forck has led a vigorous, unrelenting campaign of prayer vigils and sidewalk counseling at the clinic, rallying widespread committed support from pro-life citizens in the Columbia region. We believe this is one more instance of the power of fervent, persistent prayer combined with determined, strategic citizen action. Please join Kathy and her fellow prayer warriors with your own prayers that no more children will die at the Columbia Planned Parenthood clinic, and that the facility will close its doors for good. With the suspension of "abortion services" at the Columbia Planned Parenthood office, that leaves no functioning abortion clinic in Missouri outside the St. Louis area. Women in many parts of Missouri travel to adjacent states to obtain abortions. Abortions continue to be performed in St. Louis by Planned Parenthood's Reproductive Health Services clinic, by Dr. Alan Palmer in Bridgeton, and by Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

FCC Appeals Television Indecency Ruling

A Cole County circuit judge has denied a legal motion to block the enforcement of Missouri's new law regulating sexually oriented businesses. Judge Jon Beetem ruled against a request for a temporary restraining order filed by attorneys for sex businesses around the state. The lawsuit was a last-minute effort to suspend enforcement of the law adopted by the General Assembly this year and signed by Governor Jay Nixon which took effect on Saturday. That law establishes new restrictions on the operation of nude dancing clubs and so-called "adult video stores" and "adult video arcades." Lawyers for the sex industry in Missouri had argued that the new law violated their First Amendment rights to freedom of expression, and that their businesses would suffer a significant loss of revenues. Beetem ruled that "economic loss alone does not alter the analysis of the legal issues surrounding the Plaintiff's constitutional challenges." He refused their request for an injunction against the law until a hearing could be heard on its merits, saying the plaintiffs had failed to prove that they were likely to succeed in their claims. In fact, the prospect of the sex businesses succeeding in court are very poor. The new Missouri law was drafted to reflect federal appellate court decisions which permit states and local governments to regulate the negative secondary effects on communities of strip clubs and "adult" video stores and arcades. Missouri's new law bans totally nude dancing and prohibits contact between dancers and patrons. The law forbids alcohol on the premises, and the presence of minors. No sexually oriented business can be located within 1000 feet of any school, church, day care center, public park, personal residence, or another sexually oriented business. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has done an admirable job to date defending Missouri's law. He has worked in close collaboration with attorney Scott Bergthold, a nationally recognized authority on this subject, who played a leading role in drafting the legislation.
Georgia College Student Faces Expulsion Over Religious Beliefs

A Georgia college student is at the center of a legal battle over whether her religious views are compatible with the counseling profession. The Alliance Defense Fund has filed suit against Augusta State University on behalf of Jennifer Keeton, who is pursuing a master's degree in counseling at the university. State Attorney, Chris Koster

Keeton is a Christian who holds Biblical views on matters of sexual morality. Keeton believes that unnatural sexual behavior, including homosexual conduct, is the result of personal choice, and is not an inbred or involuntary behavioral "orientation." Officials in the counseling department at Augusta State University have informed her that she must change her beliefs or face expulsion from the counseling education program. University professors contend that Keeton's beliefs prevent her from being a "multiculturally competent counselor." They have ordered Keeton to participate in a "remediation plan."
State Attorney, Chris KosterThat plan requires Keeton to undergo "diversity sensitivity training," and to read journals and publications supportive of the "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender" lifestyle. Keeton has been instructed to increase her "exposure and interaction with gay populations." The plan goes so far as to suggest that she attend the "gay pride parade" in Augusta to obtain such exposure and interaction. She is then required to write monthly two-page "reflection papers" on how her interactions with the homosexual community have influenced her beliefs. University officials will then determine, based on her "reflections," whether she is allowed to continue in the program. David French, Senior Counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, says the university is acting to exclude Christians from the counseling profession.
State Attorney, Chris Koster "A public university student shouldn't be threatened with expulsion for being a Christian and refusing to publicly renounce her faith. Abandoning one's own religious beliefs should not be a precondition at a public university for obtaining a degree. This type of thought control policy is in place at far too many universities, and it must stop." French says the university's "remediation plan" is actually a "re-education" program. "There is no question they are putting her through a thought-reform program. It's the state trying to invade the human heart and human mind to change her deepest beliefs. It's unconscionable."

State Attorney, Chris Koster ADF filed suit in U.S. District Court in Georgia arguing that the university's actions violate Keeton's First Amendment rights to free speech and free exercise of her religion. U.S. District Judge Randall Hall has denied an initial motion for a preliminary injunction against the university, stating the issue is one of "the right of a public university to enforce reasonable academic standards." ADF is appealing Hall's decision to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Keeton's case bears considerable resemblance to another recent episode at Eastern Michigan State University. There, Julea Ward was expelled from the university's graduate counseling program because she refused to affirm homosexual behavior as morally acceptable. University faculty also required Ward to undergo a "remediation program," so that she could "see the error of her ways" and adjust her belief system about homosexual relationships.

The Alliance Defense Fund also took Ward's case to federal court in Michigan. Judge George Steeh ruled in favor of the university, deploring the fact that "Ms. Ward would never change her behavior and would consistently refuse to counsel clients on matters with which she was personally opposed due to her religious beliefs." In other words, individuals must violate their conscience if they intend to work in the counseling profession. ADF is appealing Judge Steeh's ruling as well.

State Attorney, Chris KosterThese cases seem like déjà vu for many Missourians following the Emily Brooker episode at Missouri State University. Brooker was a student in the social work program at the university.
She endured harsh interrogation from a faculty panel when she refused to write a letter to legislators in support of homosexual adoption rights, and they threatened to withhold her diploma. ADF represented Brooker and obtained a consent agreement with the university in which Brooker was vindicated. Missouri State University commissioned a subsequent independent study of its school of social work. The final report described a "toxic" atmosphere in which students were bullied and browbeaten into accepting "certain belief systems."

State Attorney, Chris Koster Please be praying for Jennifer Keeton and Julea Ward and other students who have the moral courage to stand up to intimidation and affirm their Christian beliefs. You can hear Jennifer Keeton in her own words at the website of the SpeakUp Movement at the following link: SpeakUp Movement SpeakUp Movement is a project of the Alliance Defense Fund. It is dedicated to the belief that Christians should be able to live their lives free from intimidation, discrimination, and injustice. The SpeakUp Movement includes a project focused on protecting and promoting religious rights at our nation's public universities
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