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Missouri Family E-NewsMay 24, 2011

 

Akin, Hartzler Act to Defend Marriage in the Military

 

Missouri Congressman Todd Akin and Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler are  championing efforts to preserve the institution of marriage in the U.S. military.

 

Both congressmen recently jumped into action in response to a decision by U.S. Navy officials to allow naval chaplains to conduct so-called same-sex "marriages" at U.S. military installations.

 

Naval Rear Admiral Mark Tidd stated in an official memorandum that the Navy was updating its "guidelines" to reflect the recent action by Congress to open the armed services to active homosexuals. 

 

The only problem is that Admiral Tidd's actions are in direct violation of federal law.  The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) states that any ruling or regulation of any bureau or agency of the United States can only recognize marriage as the union of a man and a woman. 

 

Both Congressman Akin and Congresswoman Hartzler are members of the House Armed Services Committee, and they used their positions to attach pro-marriage amendments to the current Defense Department budget authorization bill.

 

Congressman Akin's amendment prohibits any military installation from being used for a marriage ceremony unless it involves a true marriage between a man and a woman.  The amendment also forbids chaplains from performing same-sex unions in their official capacity.  The committee adopted Akin's amendment by a vote of 38-23.

 

Akin also organized a letter co-signed  by 62 of his colleagues calling on the Secretary of the Navy to revoke the new guidelines.  "We find it unconscionable that the U.S. Navy believes it is their place to train and direct service members to violate federal law, " Akin wrote.   "It is not the place of any citizen of this country to pick and choose which laws they are going to obey.  We expect citizens sworn to defend those laws to set the example in their application."

 

Congresswoman Hartzler offered a successful amendment to the Defense Department bill that makes it clear that the provisions of DOMA apply to any military policies applying to all members of the Armed Forces and civilian employees of the Department of Defense.  Hartzler's amendment passed by a vote of 39-22.

 

In response to the national furor over his arbitrary action, Admiral Tidd has announced that he is suspending his memorandum "pending additional legal and policy review." 

 

     

 

The People of Joplin Need Our Help!

 

We join our hearts and prayers with the people of Joplin, Missouri as they mourn the deaths of so many of their friends and neighbors from the punishing tornado that obliterated so much of the town.  It is essential that the Christian community respond in substantial ways to a human tragedy and community crisis of this colossal magnitude.

 

Representative Bill Lant of Joplin tells us that he and Representative Bill White and their families survived "a direct hit" while huddled in the kitchen of an IHOP restaurant in town.  Representative Lant says that he could still hear his wife praying over the barreling sound of the tornado as it roared through. 

 

While we are sure there are countless worthy ministries assisting in the recovery effort, we have been made aware of two churches accepting donations to be used for the needs of dispossessed families.   Both of these churches  have been set up as collection and distribution centers for tornado victims and their families.

 

You can send contributions to the "Tornado Relief Fund" at New Creation Church at 1831 S. Connor Ave., Joplin, MO  64804.    You can also send donations designated for tornado victims to Racine Christian Church at P. O. Box 69, Racine, MO  64858.  Racine is a community on the southern outskirts of Joplin.

 

You can also support the immediate needs of the community through the Convoy of Hope ministry.

A benevolence outreach of the Assemblies of God,  Convoy of Hope is headquartered in Springfield and specializes in disaster recovery.  You can visit their website at this link:

Convoy of Hope

 

In all my travels around Missouri, I have never been more impressed by any community than I have the town of Joplin.  My wife knows that I have often said that if we didn't live in St. Charles County,  I would want to make our home in the Joplin area.

 

The people of Joplin exemplify in a remarkable way the best attributes of  brotherly love, civic concern, and Christian charity.  This is a town that demonstrates what "faith in action" looks like.  Joplin is a community that addresses the needs of its population (no matter the generation) the old-fashioned way--by pitching in and serving their fellow man.

 

It will take that kind of spirit to recover from a setback this pervasive and this debilitating.  We challenge you to help ease the burdens and the heartache of these fine people during this distressing hour.  While your prayers are vital, we urge you to put your own faith into action by doing something tangible to support the relief effort.  We pray that the beleaguered families in Joplin will feel the love of families and churches from all over our state.

 

It is understandable for people to become anxious and unsettled by recent recurring natural disasters of staggering proportions.  While this earthly world did not come to an end on Saturday as one false prophet predicted, many wonder whether the brutal ravages of nature are precursors of the end-times.

 

The one thing we know for sure is that we can rely on the Promises of God.  We are comforted with the knowledge that while the created things of this world may be shaken and destroyed, we have a Kingdom that cannot be shaken.  (Hebrews 12:25-29)

 

As a community surveys the desolate remains of entire neighborhoods that have disappeared, we are reminded in stark terms that the Most High is our only safe refuge and our only secure dwelling place.  The Lord promises us that He will protect us and rescue us if we acknowledge His Name and call upon Him. (Psalm 91)  No lasting harm will befall him who seeks cover under His shelter. 

 

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust."

 

 

 

Late-Term Abortion Bills Await Governor Nixon's Signature
 

Viable preborn children in Missouri would be protected from the brutality of late-term abortion under bills now on the desk of Governor Jay Nixon.  The Missouri House and Senate adopted identical bills banning most late-term abortions in the final week of this year's session of the General Assembly.

 

The Missouri House adopted Senate Bill 65, sponsored by Senator Rob Mayer of Dexter, by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 121-33.  The Missouri Senate adopted House Bill 213, sponsored by Representative Tim Jones of Eureka, by an even more decisive vote of 28-5.   Both bills were initiated and developed by the Missouri Family Policy Council in concert with Americans United for Life.

 

Representative Jones challenged his colleagues to take a stand in support of innocent human life.  "The question is whether you support the barbaric practice of ripping a child from the mother's womb in the late term and slaughtering it.  Continuing to disregard the miracle of life as if it were an inconvenience is incomprehensible.  Deliberately ending the life of a child struggling to live is wrong.  It is time to give these children the same right to life that you and I enjoy."

 

Representative Keith Frederick of Rolla, a physician, offered some of the most moving testimony during the legislative debate.  "These are little people.  They have some vision and hearing.  They feel pain.  Their little hearts are beating.  They're moving their limbs.  And they are innocent as new-born babes.  Yet some will receive a death sentence though they have done absolutely nothing whatsoever to deserve it."

 

Senator Mayer, who was also the sponsor of last year's major ultrasound/informed consent law, expressed great satisfaction with the passage of the late-term abortion ban.  "Last year's bill required that mothers be told the truth about the life of the unborn child and other alternatives to abortion.  But this measure is particularly important to me in that it serves to ensure babies capable of sustaining life outside the womb are not subject to such an unnecessary and horrific end to their life."

 

Governor Nixon has until July 15th to decide whether he will sign the bills, veto them, or let them become law without his signature.  The latter option is the one the Governor chose last year, when the ultrasound/informed consent bill became law when the Governor declined to either sign or veto the legislation.  Should the Governor decide to veto the bills, he would almost certainly have his veto overridden.  Republicans hold a firm veto-proof majority in the Senate.  While Republicans are three votes short of a veto-proof majority in the House, a number of pro-life Democrats would not hesitate to override the Governor on this issue.

 

Under current law, an abortion can be performed on a viable unborn child to protect "the life or health" of the mother.  However, the "health" exception has been interpreted so broadly by the courts that it encompasses any and all situations, including emotional distress, mental anxiety, or an inability or unwillingness to raise a child.

 

The bills passed by the Legislature would restrict post-viability abortions to instances in which the life of the mother is truly threatened, or when genuine significant health risks are involved.  Two physicians who have no legal or financial relationship would have to agree and certify that continuation of the pregnancy would "create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman."

 

Missouri currently has a statute on the books that requires that when the gestational age of the unborn child is twenty weeks or more, an abortionist must first determine if the unborn child is viable.  Viability is defined as that stage of fetal development "when the life of the unborn child may be continue indefinitely outside the womb by natural or artificial life-supportive systems."

 

Yet the meaningless late-term abortion restrictions in the current law allow the doctor to proceed with an abortion regardless of the viability of the child.  Should the new bills become law, a physician with knowledge of accepted obstetrical and neonatal standard of care and practice would have to verify to the State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts that the abortion is one of medical necessity.  The Healing Arts Board has the power to license and discipline doctors in Missouri.

 

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reports that only 63 abortions were performed in Missouri in 2009 at 21 weeks gestation or later.  We believe these numbers reflect false reporting and underreporting by institutions performing late-term abortions. 

 

Opponents of the bills claimed that all 63 reported late-term abortions were performed at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and all of them involved "fatal fetal anomalies."  The fact is not all of these abortions were performed at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and not all abortions performed at Barnes Hospital are due to lethal anomalies in the preborn child.    Barnes-Jewish Hospital has an incentive to conduct late-term procedures.  Barnes has an agreement with Planned Parenthood and Washington University to train "academic fellows" to become "expert" in late-term abortion procedures.  Barnes is part of a nationwide network of teaching hospitals that is training the next generation of abortionists.

 

The major impact of the new law will be to discourage doctors who "specialize" in late-term abortions from setting up shop in Missouri.  The Midwest has been home to notorious late-term abortionists, namely the late George Tiller in Wichita, and Leroy Carhart in Bellevue, Nebraska.  Carhart recently left Nebraska to set up his practice in other states due to a tough late-term abortion law adopted by the Nebraska Legislature. 

 

Under the bills adopted by the Missouri Legislature, any doctor found guilty of performing a late-term abortion would be imprisoned for a minimum of one year, and fined anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000.  They would also have their license to practice medicine revoked.  Hospitals that knowingly allow illegal late-term abortions to be performed on their premises would be subject to suspension of their operating license.

 

These bills send a distinct message to unscrupulous doctors who victimize viable unborn children:  Missouri has a no-tolerance policy when it comes to late-term abortions.  Physicians who choose to engage in the hideous practice of late-term abortion do so at great peril to their own livelihood.

 

We are grateful to the many members of the General Assembly who voted to defend the lives of defenseless unborn children who are just weeks away from birth.  We especially thank both
Senator Mayer and Representative Jones for their exceptional leadership in winning passage of these bills, and for being passionate spokesmen for the right to life.

 

We encourage you to contact your state senator and state representative to either thank them for their votes or express concern about their decision to turn their backs on these atrocities.  You can contact your state representative through this link:

Missouri House

You can reach your state senator by using this link:

Missouri Senate

 

Here is how legislators voted on the two bills:

 

Representatives voting for Senate Substitute for Senate Bill 65:

 

Allen, Anders, Asbury, Aull, Bahr, Barnes, Bernskoetter, Berry, Black, Brandom, Brattin, Brown (Michael), Brown (Cloria), Brown (Wanda), Burlison, Casey, Cauthorn, Cierpiot, Conway (Kathie), Conway (Pat), Cookson, Cox, Crawford, Cross, Curtman, Davis, Day, Denison, Dieckhaus, Diehl, Dugger, Elmer, Entlicher, Fallert, Fisher, Fitzwater, Flanigan, Fraker, Franklin, Franz, Frederick, Fuhr, Funderburk, Gatschenberger, Gosen, Grisamore, Guernsey, Haefner, Hampton, Harris, Higdon, Hinson, Hodges, Hoskins, Hough, Houghton, Hummel, Johnson, Jones (Tim), Jones (Caleb), Keeney, Kelley, Klippenstein, Koenig, Korman, Kratky, Lair, Lant, Largent, Lasater, Lauer, Leach, Leara, Lichtenegger, Loehner, Long, Marshall, McCaherty, McGhee, McManus, McNary, Meadows, Molendorp, Nance, Neth, Nolte, Parkinson, Phillips, Pollock, Quinn, Redmon, Reiboldt, Richardson, Riddle, Rowland, Ruzicka, Schad, Scharnhorst, Schatz, Schieber, Schieffer, Schneider, Schoeller, Shively, Shumake, Silvey, Smith (Jason), Solon, Stream, Swinger, Thomson, Torpey, Wallingford, Wells, Weter, White, Wieland, Wright, Wyatt, and Zerr

 

Representatives voting against SS SB 65:

 

Atkins, Carlson, Carter, Colona, Ellinger, Hubbard, Hughes, Jones (Tishaura), Kander, Kelly, Kirkton, Lampe, May, McCann Beatty, McDonald, McNeil, Montecillo, Newman, Nichols, Oxford, Pace, Pierson, Rizzo, Schupp, Sifton, Smith (Clem), Spreng, Still, Swearingen, Talboy, Taylor, Walton Gray, Webb

 

Representatives voting present:

 

Holsman

 

Representatives absent with leave:

 

McGeoghegan, Nasheed, Sater, Webber

 

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Senators voting for Senate Substitute for House Bill 213:

 

Brown, Callahan, Crowell, Cunningham, Dempsey, Dixon, Engler, Goodman, Kehoe, Kraus, Lager, Lamping, Lembke, Mayer, McKenna, Munzlinger, Nieves, Parson, Pearce, Purgason, Richard, Ridgeway, Rupp, Schaaff, Schaefer, Schmitt, Stouffer, Wasson

 

Senators voting against SS HB 213:

 

Chappelle-Nadal, Curls, Justus, Keaveny, Wright-Jones

 

Senators Absent:

 

Green

 

Joe's Signature