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Missouri Family E-News

March 27, 2012 

Missouri Senate OKs House of Worship Protection Act



The Missouri Senate has given final passage to legislation which would protect the security of worship services in the state of Missouri.


The Senate approved the House of Worship Protection Act, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer of Dexter, by a vote of 24-9.  The bill would make it a crime to disrupt a house of worship.


Under the proposal, it would be illegal to intentionally and unreasonably disturb, interrupt, or disquiet a house of worship with the purpose of disturbing the solemnity and order of a worship service.  Deliberate actions such as  profane discourse, rude or indecent behavior, or unreasonable noise designed to disrupt a worship service would be prohibited.


The bill would also place in state law language currently contained in federal law which bans actions to injure, intimidate, or interfere with any person lawfully exercising their right of religious freedom.


Churches have lately become the target of groups who infiltrate houses of worship to stage protests during religious services.   Some of the protests are aimed at the doctrinal teachings of the church; others are staged to provide prominent attention to a political cause or viewpoint.


Senator Mayer says the bill would also apply to funeral ceremonies and religious graveside services.  "We're all too familiar with the extreme disturbances of of the Westboro Baptist Church and the actions it employs at the funerals of our country's fallen soldiers.  One example is when this group disrupted the funeral services of Christina Green, a 9 year-old girl who was killed during the assasination attempt of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords."


"Our First Amendment rights to free exercise of religion are extremely important and deserving of protection," Mayer adds.  "This bill would better secure the safety of religious institutions and allow people to gather and worship peacefully."


The House of Worship Protection Act was developed and advanced by the Missouri Family Policy Council.  It will now move to the House, where similar legislation was introduced by House Speaker Pro Tem Shane Schoeller.


The following Senators voted for the bill, Senate Bill 755:


Brown, Callahan, Chappelle-Nadal, Dempsey, Dixon, Engler, Goodman, Keaveny, Kehoe, Kraus, Lager, Lamping, Mayer, McKenna, Munzlinger, Nieves, Parson, Pearce, Purgason, Richard, Rupp, Schmitt, Stouffer, and Wasson.


The following Senators voted against Senate Bill 755:


Crowell, Cunningham, Curls, Green, Justus, Lembke, Schaaf, and Schaefer.


Sentator Luann Ridgeway was absent with leave.  




Couple Wins Wrongful Life Lawsuit over Child with Down Syndrome



An Oregon couple has won a jury award of $2.9 million in a wrongful birth lawsuit involving a child with Down Syndrome.


Ariel and Deborah Levy filed the suit, claiming that they would have aborted their daughter Kalanit had they known she would have the Down Syndrome condition.  The couple alleged that Legacy Health System failed to detect the child's "chromosomal abnormality" in utero.


The couple contended in their lawsuit that the nearly $3 million verdict was necessary to cover the estimated lifetime costs of caring for a child with Down Syndrome.


Melinda Delahoyde, President of the CareNet pregnancy resource center network, deplored the verdict.  "As the proud mother of a son who shares the diagnosis of the child who became the subject of this trial, I pray that these parents will come to know their daughter, not as a medical mistake but as the perfect addition to their family that she is."


"Despite the verdict of a jury, 'wrongful birth' remains a contradiction in terms," Delahoyde continues.  "What is truly 'wrongful' is that nearly 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome are quietly aborted before they are born."


Missouri law prohibits 'wrongful birth' or 'wrongful life' lawsuits.  However, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that parents can still sue for acts of negligence when a physician fails to inform them that a child suffers from abnormalities, and the parents then suffer emotional distress.


You can hear the messages of other parents with a Down Syndrome Child in an inspiring video from the International Down Syndrome Coalition at this link:

IDSC Video  



Christians Join Forces
in Jeff City on Behalf
of Religious Liberty

Thousands of Missourians are expected to gather today at the Missouri Capitol in opposition to the Obama Administration's abortion drug mandate.  Christian citizens will be participating in a religious liberty rally to protect the rights of religious institutions and religious-based employers.

The rally takes aim at the recent contraceptive edict issued by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  That mandate requires that virtually all health insurance plans must include coverage of all contraceptives approved by the Food and Drug Administration, including the abortifacient drugs Ella and Plan B.  Employers who fail to comply will face onerous fines under the new contraceptive decree.

The rally has been organized by the Missouri Catholic Conference in collaboration with the Missouri Baptist Convention, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and various pro-life organizations.  The fact that Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and Southern Baptists are joining forces in sponsoring this event highlights the grave threat the abortion drug mandate poses to the religious freedoms of churches throughout our nation.

"We can't afford to be passive when our federal government has taken a position that forces people of faith and religious entities to act in a way that is contrary to our morals and beliefs," says Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis. 

"We have seen decades of tragedy resulting from the overreach of government in the Roe v. Wade abortion decision.  It is important for us to do something now to secure conscience rights for our citizens and avoid further tragedy."

John Yeats, executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention, echoed Archbishop Carlson's comments.  "Under the Constitution, the government has no right to impose penalties on religious convictions of any kind.  Our Baptist forefathers were the authors of religious liberty.  They shed their blood for a free church in a free state.  Many endured imprisonment and lost their personal assets over this one issue."

"The recent federal mandate is a blatant overreach by the Administration into the spheres of conscience that directly impact Christian ministries and universities.  We need to be first in line to protect our precious First Amendment freedoms from abuse by those with political agendas."

In the meantime, the Obama Administration is plowing forward with plans to implement another controversial action:  the abortion surcharge provision included in President Obama's health care law.  All insurance companies who offer coverage for elective abortion in their health insurance policies will be required to collect a separate premium for abortion coverage.  That premium will be assessed against all policyholders regardless of a person's age, gender, or physical condition. 

It is likely that most insurers will opt to collect the surcharge, since it is a requirement for access to federal subsidies.  In an amazing display of audacity, the Obama Administration is prohibiting insurers from disclosing the abortion surcharge (which is initially being set at $1 per month) in their informational materials until policyholders sign up for coverage.

Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler sharply condemned the Administration's actions.  "This lack of transparency and secrecy involving abortion coverage in health care plans hides critical information from consumers and may force pro-life Americans to unknowingly pay for abortions.  That is wrong!"

"This is an unconscionable intrusion into the lives of Americans and yet another example of why the Obama Administration's takeover of health care must be repealed,  Hartzler added."

Fortunately, Missourians won't be required to pay this abortion surcharge because of action taken by the Missouri Legislature to opt out of this provision. However, Missourians will still be forced to underwrite abortion coverage in other states through their federal income taxes.  Federal subsidies will help pay for policies that may include abortion coverage for individuals who qualify for federal assistance.

A St. Louis Catholic business owner has decided that he is not going to take the abortion drug mandate sitting down.  Frank O'Brien has filed suit in federal court against the contraceptive mandate, claiming that it violates his constitutionally protected religious beliefs.  O'Brien employs 87 people at his company, O'Brien Industrial Holdings.

"This mandate would require business people like our client to leave their religious beliefs at home every day as a condition of doing business in our society,"  says Francis Manion of the American Center for Law and Justice, which is representing O'Brien in the litigation. 

"This mandate tells people like Frank O'Brien that they have to choose between conducting their business in a manner consistent with their moral values, or conducting their business in a manner consistent with the government's values.  The Constitution does not allow the government to impose such a choice."

The mission statement of O'Brien's business reads as follows:  "Our mission is to make our labor a pleasing offering to the Lord while enriching our families and society."  O'Brien's refusal to comply with the abortion drug mandate could result in fines to his firm totalling over $3 million a year.

The Obama Administration is accepting public comment for a 90-day period on the regulations.  You can register your objections to the abortion drug mandate by using this link:
HHS Public Comment

Please be praying for business owners like Frank O'Brien who face the moral dilemma of following their consciences or facing crippling financial penalties to the companies they operate.


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