Banner 2 no message

Missouri Family E-News

January 21, 2014

Oklahoma Marriage Law Under Attack  


Yet another lawless federal judge has taken aim at the institution of marriage.  U.S. District Judge Terence Kern has ruled that the state of Oklahoma must redefine marriage to include homosexual unions.


Judge Kern ruled that laws which "limit" marriage to its historical meaning are "arbitrary and irrational" and violate the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.  


Voters in Oklahoma approved a state constitutional amendment in 2004 which preserved legal marriage as the union of one man and one woman.  The proposition passed with the support of 75 percent of Oklahoma voters.


Yet Judge Kern said in his ruling that "the majority view must give way to individual constitutional rights."  This is a remarkable statement given that the U.S. Constitution makes no reference to marriage at all.


Kern's decision follows on the heels of a recent decision by U.S. Judge Robert Shelby mandating same-sex "marriage" in the State of Utah.


Both judges acted to defy the U.S. Supreme Court, which recently affirmed in the Windsor case that "the definition of marriage and regulation of marriage...has been treated as being within the authority and realm of the separate states."


Oklahoma Congressman James Lankford denounced Judge Kern's outlaw behavior.  "The State of Oklahoma has the right to define marriage in a way consistent with the values of our state." 


"Judicial activism like this is why the American people are so frustrated with government and government officials.  The people speak clearly but elected officials and judges ignore them."


Judge Kern delayed enforcement of his decision until his ruling can be appealed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which will also be considering an appeal of Judge Shelby's decision in Utah.                       

Arizona Pro-Life Law Fails to Win Review

The U.S. Supreme Court has let stand a lower court decision which struck down an Arizona law banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The High Court refused to hear an appeal of a ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.  The 9th Circuit found that the law violated Supreme Court precedent, which has declared an unlimited right to abortion prior to the point at which the unborn child is viable.

Arizona is among a number of states that have passed laws in recent years prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks.  The laws have  been based on concerns over increased health threats to the mother and increased pain to the child from late-term abortions.

"States laws should reject this type of brutality," says Marjorie Dannensfelder, President of the Susan B. Anthony List. 

"Twenty weeks is more than halfway through the pregnancy and the point at which babies have all their organs, hear and respond to their mother's voices, and can even feel pain," Dannensfelder points out.

"A growing number of Americans simply reject the horror of late abortion and believe a reasonable line should be drawn."

Proponents of such laws have hoped that a reconstituted Supreme Court would relax the viability standard for abortion restrictions.  The failure by the High Court to accept the Arizona case suggests that there is no desire to revisit the issue.

Missouri's late-term abortion law remains unthreatened by the recent legal developments.  That law, enacted in 2011, forbid most abortions after the preborn child is viable, consistent with the 1992 Supreme Court ruling in the Planned Parenthood v. Casey case.


Listen to the Broadcast Version of the Jeff City Update online at 

Legislators Seek
Longer Waiting Period for Abortion Decision

Missouri state legislators have filed bills which would provide women considering abortion more time to contemplate their decision.  Legislation filed in both the Missouri Senate and Missouri House of Representatives would extend the waiting period for an abortion from 24 to 72 hours.

State Senator David Sater of Cassville initiated the effort to expand the abortion waiting period by filing Senate Bill 519.  Senator Sater said that he believes women need more time to consider the seriousness of a decision to end the life of an unborn child.

"A woman who makes a choice to abort her child has to live with that decision for the rest of her life," Sater says.  "It only makes sense that such a grave decision should be based on complete information and careful evaluation."

"We're just talking about two more days," Sater adds. "This bill would guarantee that the woman has sufficient time to truly reflect on making the right decision for her and her child."

State Representatives Keith Frederick of Rolla and Kevin Elmer of Nixa have filed companion bills in the House, namely House Bills 1313 and 1307.  Those bills are being heard this week in the House Health Care Policy Committee, which is chaired by Representative Frederick.

Waiting periods, often referred to as "reflection periods," have been a staple of state laws regulating abortion since they were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1992 case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey.  In that landmark decision, the Court ruled that states have a "legitimate interest in assuring that a woman's consent to an abortion [is] fully informed."  The justices said that a waiting period "helps ensure that a woman's decision to abort is a well-considered one."

The Missouri Legislature significantly strengthened the state's informed consent law in 2010.  Under the provisions of the revised law, a woman seeking an abortion must be furnished with detailed information covering the nature of the abortion procedure, the health risks of the procedure, and alternatives to abortion.  She must also be given the opportunity to see an ultrasound of the child and hear the heartbeat of the child if it is audible.

Since the adoption of the law, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has prepared a booklet which is given to each woman who visits an abortion clinic 24 hours before the scheduled procedure.  The booklet includes images and information explaining the development of the preborn child at two-week gestational increments.  The booklet outlines the types of abortion procedures and the immediate and long-term risks of undergoing an abortion.

The written materials describe the Missouri Alternatives to Abortion Program and its eligibility requirements.  The woman is given a regional listing of pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes, and adoption agencies.  The documents encourage the woman to contact agencies such as these who will assist her in carrying the child to term, or placing the child for adoption.

The booklet begins with this factual statement:  "The life of each human being begins at conception.  Abortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being."

The Missouri Family Policy Council played the leading role in developing and promoting our state's strengthened informed consent law.  We strongly support efforts to extend the abortion waiting period so that women have adequate time to review the information provided and be able to make a truly informed judgement about such a life-changing decision.

Professionals who work in pregnancy resource centers can testify to the fact that women seeking an abortion are often under intense pressure to abort from boyfriends, parents, and even grandparents.  The pressure is even greater when young women have been impregnated by adult men and sexual predators.

The additional reflection period would provide a "cooling-off period" for family members to absorb the reality of an unintended pregnancy and assess the consequences of an abortion decision.  The longer waiting period would provide women who have been victimized by sexual abuse more time to escape the physical and emotional hold of their abuser and seek help from caring professionals.  

Two states have already acted to extend the customary 24-hour waiting period.  Utah and South Dakota have laws on the books that require a 72 hour reflection period. The South Dakota law was initially challenged in federal court by Planned Parenthood, but the challenge to the 72-hour provision was subsequently dropped.  The Utah law has never been the subject of litigation.

Missouri would join these states in combining a comprehensive and substantial informed consent law with an extended reflection period.  We applaud the legislative sponsors of these bills for their principled pro-life leadership.  Senator Sater was the sponsor of last year's successful bill protecting the conscience rights of pharmacy owners.

We urge you to contact your state senator and state representatives to encourage their support for these proposals.

You can contact your state senator to urge his or her support for Senate Bill 519 by using this link:
Your State Senator

You can contact your state representative to encourage his or her support for House Bills 1307 and 1313 by clicking this link:
Your State Representative

If you do not know your state legislators, you can identify that information by following this link:
Legislator Lookup

Joe's Signature