Missouri Family E-News

July 28, 2015

Challenge to Abortion
Rx Mandate

A federal appeals court has given the green light to a lawsuit filed by a Missouri state legislator against the federal contraceptive and abortion drug mandate.

A three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that State Senator Paul Wieland of Imperial has the legal standing to challenge the Obamacare mandate.

Wieland filed the lawsuit on behalf of his family, maintaining that the mandate required them to purchase health insurance offered by Missouri state government that included coverage of abortifacient drugs--in violation of their religious beliefs.

U.S. District Judge Jean Hamilton had dismissed Wieland's previous challenge to the mandate, deciding that Wieland lacked legal standing to pursue the litigation.

The three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit disagrees, and has sent the case back to District Court for a hearing on the merits of the case.

Judge Roger Wollman, writing for the Appeals Court, says that the alleged injury to the Wielands is "fairly traceable" to the federal government's implementation of the contraceptive and abortion drug mandate.

"The Mandate...requires group health plans and health insurance issuers to include coverage for contraceptives in all healthcare plans, and it is the Mandate that caused the State...to place the Wielands in a healthcare plan that included this coverage, and thus cause injury to the Wielands," the opinon reads.

The federal Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as Obamacare) empowered the Secretary of Health and Human Services to determine what "essential health services" must be included in the basic coverage of every health insurance policy sold in the United States.

Then-Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued an edict that all health insurance plans must include coverage at no cost of any and all contraceptives approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The mandate thus required coverage of abortifacient drugs and devices.  These include so-called "emergency contraceptives," such as Ella and Plan B, which work to destroy human embryos in their earliest stages of development.

The 8th Circuit ruling is significant in that it is the first time that a federal court has ruled that an individual or family has a legal basis to challenge the abortion drug mandate.

"[This] ruling is a huge victory for religious liberty," says Tom Brejcha, Chief Counsel and President of the Thomas More Society, which has represented the Wielands.

"Last year, for-profit business owners prevailed against the HHS mandate...when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby.  Now, individuals and families may also sue to win protection from the Obamacare mandate, when they have conscientious objections based on sincerely held religious beliefs."

St. Louis attorney Tim Belz, who served as special counsel for the Thomas More Society, also cheered the ruling.  "We believe that the Wielands' exercise of their religious faith is substantially burdened when the government forces them to provide religiously objectionable insurance coverage for their family."

We commend Senator Wieland for his continuing efforts to ensure that Missourians are not compelled to obtain insurance policies that pay for the destruction of innocent human life in the womb.


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Missouri Lawmakers
New Inquiry
 of Planned Parenthood

Missouri Senate leaders have convened a special committee to investigate allegations that Planned Parenthood affiliates are engaging in the illegal trafficking of the body parts of aborted unborn children.

Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey has announced the appointment of a Senate Interim Committee on the Sanctity of Human Life.  He has appointed Senator Kurt Schaefer of Columbia to serve as chairman of the committee, and Senator David Sater of Cassville as the vice-chairman.

"The recent allegation that Planned Parenthood is selling fetal tissue to medical laboratories is not only appalling, but illegal as well," Senator Dempsey said in a statement.  "I am tasking this committee to find out exactly what is going on behind closed doors and hold them accountable for any illegal actions."

"These are horrifying allegations," added Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard.  "As a pro-life senator, I have always done my best to protect the sanctity of life.  The effect of abortion on both the child and the mother are devastating.  These appalling acts would only further the damage done already."

The forceful action by Missouri Senate leaders occurs in the wake of the latest disturbing video released by a group called the Center for Medical Progress.  The most recent undercover video involves a conversation with Dr. Mary Gatter, President of the Medical Directors' Council, a for-profit associate of Planned Parenthood.  During the video, Dr. Gatter dickers over the price she will accept for the body parts of preborn children aborted by Planned Parenthood clinics.

Dr. Gatter tells the interviewers that Planned Parenthood attempts to obtain "intact specimens" during an abortion, and that she is willing to talk to doctors to "use a less crunchy technique to get more whole specimens."  As to price, Gatter says that "we don't want to be in a position of being accused of selling tissue and stuff like that...money is not the most important thing to me." 

However, Dr. Gatter then adds that the price for the baby body parts "has to be big enough that it makes it worthwhile for me."  She then turns to the woman on her right and taps her on the shoulder, saying with a chuckle:  "I want a Lamborghini."

The latest revelations follow an earlier undercover video involving an interview with Dr. Deborah Nucatola, the Senior Director of Medical Services for Planned Parenthood.  In that repulsive video, Nucatola shares over wine and salad how Planned Parenthood's abortionists are careful where they place the "graspers" so they do not crush valuable baby body parts like the heart, liver, lung, and the head itself.

During her interview, Dr. Nucatola stated that the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in St. Louis was an "untapped supplier" of baby body parts.  "The one other place I would consider that you're not thinking about possibly is St. Louis," Nucatola says.  "I think that's definitely worth your while...I would say St. Louis is worth investigating."

Senator Schaefer says that if is proven that the Reproductive Health Services clinic in St. Louis is illegally trafficking in "fetal tissue," the facility should lose its state license.  "Missourians deserve to know the truth behind this potentially atrocious violation of our state laws and humane values.  Over the next few months this committee will conduct a rigorous investigation into the monstrous and inconceivable acts carried out by Planned Parenthood."
Senator Schaefer had previously called on Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster to conduct his own investigation of Planned Parenthood's business and marketing practices.  Koster has now agreed to do so.
The Attorney General says his office will investigate whether Planned Parenthood may have violated state laws in "their provision of abortion services."

In a statement, Koster's office says the "the videos raise questions about Planned Parenthood's practices regarding the extraction and disposal of fetal organs and whether the clinics offer patients adequate, accurate information about these procedures."

"Regardless of whether one is pro-life or pro-choice, the questions raised by these videos require careful review," Koster is quoted as saying.  "My office will investigate whether the practices described have occurred within our state and whether Missouri law has been violated."

We previously reported that leaders in the Missouri House have launched an investigation into Planned Parenthood's business conduct.  State Representatives Andrew Koenig and Diane Franklin will be conducting joint hearings of the committees they chair, the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Children and Families Committee.

The revolting nature of the videos has even prompted U.S. Congressional leaders to investigate what House Speaker John Boehner has described as "gruesome practices."  "This new video is as sickening, disturbing, and callous as the last video," Boehner said.  "It's now clear that Planned Parenthood allows this horrifying conduct to happen throughout its organization."

Congresswoman Diane Blackburn of Tennessee has introduced legislation to ban federal funding of Planned Parenthood and its affiliates for a year while Congress conducts its own probe of the organization's actions.  137 members of the House have co-sponsored the Defund Planned Parenthood Act.  Co-sponsors include Missouri Congresswomen Vicky Hartzler and Ann Wagner and Congressmen Jason Smith, Sam Graves, and Billy Long.

Planned Parenthood received more than $528 million in government grants, contracts, and reimbursements during federal fiscal year 2014.  Most of that funding comes through the Title X "family planning" program and reimbursements through the Medicaid program.

The state of Missouri does not provide any direct funding to Planned Parenthood, as it abolished family planning funding in the state budget years ago. However, Planned Parenthood received approximately $379,000 in state funds during state fiscal year 2014 for what appear to be Medicaid program reimbursements.

We suggest you to contact your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators to encourage them to vote to halt federal funding of Planned Parenthood.

You can contact your U.S. Representative by using this link:
Your Congressman

You can contact Senator Roy Blunt here:
Senator Blunt

You can contact Senator Claire McCaskill here:
Senator McCaskill

Joe's Signature