Banner 2 no message

Missouri Family E-News

April 3, 2012 

Tony Perkins
To Headline Family Policy Council Event 



Family Research Council President Tony Perkins will be the keynote speaker at an upcoming banquet sponsored by the Missouri Family Policy Council.  Perkins will appear at the first annual Family Policy Council dinner event to be held on Friday, April 20th, in St. Louis.


Perkins will provide an up-to-the-minute overview of national issues impacting the American family during this election year.  The Family Research Council that he heads is the leading Christian organization active in the U.S. Capitol working on behalf  of the traditional family, the right to life, and the religious freedoms of the Christian community.


Tony Perkins has become the leading national spokesman in the public arena in defense of the values and convictions of Christian families.  Prior to his leadership at the helm of the Family Research Council, Mr. Perkins served as a pro-life and pro-family state representative from Louisiana.  His career includes service as a law enforcement officer and as a television news reporter.  He is also a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.   


The Missouri Family Policy Council banquet will be held on Friday, April 20th, at the St. Louis Club in Clayton, in St. Louis County.  The St. Louis Club is located on the 15th floor of the Pierre Laclede Building located at Forsyth and Hanley.  A reception will be held at 6:15 PM, and the dinner will begin at 7:00 PM.   


Tickets for the event are $50 per person, or $400 for a table of ten.  You can reserve a ticket or table by calling (314) 506-5505.  This is an important event to build support for the Missouri Family Policy Council so that we can expand our educational efforts during this critical election year.


If you are unable to attend, please be praying for the success of this inaugural event.



State Judge Dismisses Prayer Amendment Lawsuit


A circuit court judge has upheld the ballot language for the religious liberty amendment to be voted on by Missourians later this year.  


Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce dismissed a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union claiming that the ballot summary was unfair and incomplete.


Judge Joyce ruled that the ballot language, which was developed by the General Assembly, was sufficient and fair.  "The summary statement gives voters ample notice of the proposed amendment's purpose," Joyce wrote in her decision.


"The fact that it does not include every detail of the proposed Constitutional Amendment, or every detail the plaintiffs would like included, does not render it unfair or insufficient," Joyce continued.  Missouri law limits the ballot statement to be read by voters at the polls for this amendment to 50 words or less.   


The proposed amendment to Missouri's Constitution, often referred to as the prayer amendment, would write more specific language into the state's supreme law concerning the religious freedoms of Missouri citizens and schoolchildren.


The proposal would safeguard the right of students to pray on a voluntary basis in the public schools.  It would also make clear that students can reference their belief in God in school assignments, and that they cannot be required to participate in educational activities that violate their religious beliefs.


The amendment would also protect the freedom of citizens to pray in public settings and on public property, and the right of government officials to invite ministers to offer invocations at meetings of government bodies.


The religious liberty amendment is slated to be voted on in the November general election, though Missouri Governor Jay Nixon could choose to place the issue on the August primary election ballot.


The Missouri Family Policy Council played a leading role in developing much of the language in the religious liberty amendment and the ballot summary.   


We appreciate the capable efforts of Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, Solicitor General Jim Layton, and Assistant Solicitor General Jeremiah Morgan in defending the Legislature's actions against the baseless claims of ACLU lawyers.   



Missouri House Adopts Health Care Conscience Rights Measure

Medical professionals and health care institutions would have strengthened conscience protections under legislation approved by the Missouri House of Representatives.  The health care conscience rights bill, sponsored by Majority Leader Tim Jones of Eureka,  gained final passage in the House by a vote of 113-41.

Under the proposal, no doctor, nurse, or other medical professional can be compelled to participate in medical procedures or research that violate his or her religious beliefs.  No medical professional could be threatened with adverse employment actions for failing to assist in procedures or research that they find morally objectionable.

Missouri currently has a conscience rights law, but its provisions were adopted to only apply to surgical abortion.  The current law also includes exceptions which have been exploited in other states to attempt to force nurses to participate in abortion procedures against their will.

The new legislation, House Bill 1541, outlines specified medical procedures and research which an employee could choose not to engage in under terms of their medical practice or employment.  Those procedures and research include abortion, abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, sterilization, assisted reproduction, human cloning, human embryonic stem-cell research, human somatic cell nuclear transfer, fetal tissue research, and nontherapeutic fetal experimentation.

The bill prohibits specific discriminatory employment actions against individuals who have exercised their conscience rights.  Adverse employment actions which are prohibited include termination, suspension, demotion, reduction of wages and benefits, refusal of staff privileges, refusal of board certification, or loss of career specialty. 

The scope of medical professionals covered by the bill's protections is extensive.  They include physicians, physician's assistants, nurses, nurses' aides, medical assistants, hospital and clinic employees, counselors, social workers, medical researchers, medical or nursing school faculty, and students or applicants for training in any program in the health care professions.

Representative Jones' proposal also would ensure that health care institutions cannot be required to provide or perform medical procedures that violate their own religious, moral, or ethical guidelines.   No religious hospital or clinic would be civilly or criminally liable so long as they disclosed to patients their institutional right to decline to participate in procedures that violate the tenets of their faith.

Opponents of the legislation claimed that the bill would limit health care access to legally permissible procedures.  However, the bill has nothing to do with health insurance or health care coverage.  Individuals who seek any of the specified medical procedures will still be able to obtain them.  They simply will not be able to coerce a medical professional with religious objections to be the one to provide them.

The need for the legislation was illustrated by a recent incident at the University of Medicine and Dentistry Hospital in Newark, New Jersey.  Nurses in the same-day surgery unit were suddenly told that they would have to start participating in abortion procedures.  When they objected based on their personal religious convictions, they were told that their religious views were of no consequence.  The hospital backed down after a lawsuit was filed on the nurses' behalf by the Alliance Defense Fund.

House Bill 1541 now moves to the Senate, where it will face stiffer challenges in a chamber where the filibuster can be employed.  The Missouri Hospital Association has indicated that they will be working to kill the bill in the Senate.  We encourage you to contact your state senator to urge their support for the conscience rights bill.  You can do so by clicking this link:
Your State Senator

You can also contact your state representative to express appreciation or disappointment in their vote on the health care conscience bill.  You can do so by using this link:
Your State Representative

Here is how members of the Missouri House voted on this issue:

Representatives voting for House Committee Substitute for House Bill 1541:

Allen, Asbury, Aull, Bahr, Bernskoetter, Berry, Black, Brandom, Brattin, Brown (Cloria), Conway (Kathie), Conway (Pat), Cookson, Cox, Crawford, Cross, Curtman, Davis, Denison, Dieckhaus, Diehl, Dugger, Elmer, Entlicher, Fallert, Fisher, Fitzwater, Fraker, Franklin, Franz, Guernsey, Haefner, Hampton, Harris, Higdon, Hinson, Hodges, Hoskins, Hough, Houghton, Johnson, Jones (Tim), Jones (Caleb), Keeney, Kelley (Mike), Klippenstein, Koenig, Korman, Kratky, Lair, Lant, Largent, Lauer, Leach, Leara, Lichtenegger, Loehner, Long, Marshall, McCaherty, McGeoghegan, McGhee, McNary, Meadows, Molendorp, Nance, Neth, Nolte, Parkinson, Phillips, Pollock, Quinn, Redmon, Reiboldt, Richardson, Riddle, Rowland, Ruzicka, Sater, Schad, Schatz, Schieber, Schieffer, Schneider, Shively, Shumake, Silvey, Smith (Jason), Solon, Sommer, Stream, Swinger, Thomson, Tilley, Torpey, Wallingford, Wells, Weter, White, Wieland, Wright, Wyatt, and Zerr
Representatives voting against HCS HB 1541:

Anders, Atkins, Brown (Michael), Carlson, Carter, Colona, Ellinger, Ellington, Holsman, Hubbard, Hughes, Hummel, Kander, Kelly (Chris), Kirkton, Lampe, May, McCann Beatty, McCreery, McDonald, McManus, McNeil, Montecillo, Morgan, Nasheed, Newman, Nichols, Oxford, Pace, Pierson, Rizzo, Sifton, Smith (Clem), Spreng, Still, Swearingen, Talboy, Taylor, Walton Gray, Webb, Webber

Representatives who were absent with leave:

Barnes, Day, Flanigan, Funderburk, Jones (Tishaura), Lasater, Scharnhorst, Schoeller, and Schupp

Joe's Signature