Appeal Ruling on Abortion Regulations
Attorney General Josh Hawley says he will appeal a federal judge's
ruling enjoining Missouri laws which establish health and safety
standards for abortion clinics.
Last week U.S. District Judge
Howard Sachs issued a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement
of two longstanding state abortion regulations.
Sachs concluded they were likely unconstitutional in light of a U.S.
Supreme Court decision issued last year which was authored by Justice
The first series of statutes enjoined by
Judge Sachs required that abortion clinics must meet the same health and
safety operating standards as other ambulatory surgical centers.
second section of law enjoined by Judge Sachs required that physicians
conducting abortions have staffing and clinical privileges at a hospital
in close proximity to the abortion clinic.
Last summer the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling known as Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt which struck down a Texas law with provisions similar to those in Missouri.
High Court said the requirements were "unnecessary" and "a substantial
obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion." Planned Parenthood then
filed suit against the Missouri law citing the Hellerstedt decision.
his ruling, Judge Sachs stated that the health and safety regulations
were "arbitrary" and that "the abortion rights of women are being denied
on a daily basis in irreparable fashion."
Hawley released a statement saying "this decision was wrong," and that
he would appeal the judge's decision to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of
"These portions of Missouri law protect the health and
safety of women who seek to obtain an abortion. Missouri has an
obligation to do everything possible to ensure the health and safety of
women undergoing medical procedures in state licensed medical
facilities," Hawley said.
The health and safety standards now
called into question by the federal courts have been in large part
responsible for Missouri having only one operating clinic providing
surgical abortions--the large Planned Parenthood facility in St. Louis.
Planned Parenthood facilities across Missouri are not built to function
as surgical suites with the requisite equipment and emergency staffing.
are a limited number of doctors willing to perform abortions. The
result is those few doctors fly or drive from town to town to do
abortions, and then leave dead children and wounded women behind.
abortionists have no physician-patient relationship with the women
whose children they are aborting, and have no medical credentials or
hospital privileges in the community.
The purpose of
enforcing surgicenter health and safety standards in Missouri was to
prevent "back-alley abortionists from performing shoddy abortions in
backroom offices with untrained staff and unsterile equipment.
most notorious gruesome example of such abortion mills was that
operated in Pennsylvania by a ruthless abortionist named Kermit
Gosnell. His filthy facility was alternately described by
authorities as a "house of horrors" and a "torture chamber."
Missouri's law remain enjoined and ultimately struck down, Planned
Parenthood has made clear that they intend to open four new abortion
clinics in Missouri.
Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis region
has announced they will open abortion clinics in Springfield and
Joplin. Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains
says they will reopen an abortion clinic in Columbia and open a new one
in Kansas City, Missouri.
It is likely that the new clinics would
offer chemical abortions immediately, and surgical abortions at a
future date. Chemical abortions involve the distribution of the
abortion drug RU-486, the so-called "do-it-yourself" abortion
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Missouri House OKs
Missouri House of Representatives has approved a measure which would
expand the circumstances in which passive euthanasia can occur in the
state of Missouri. The bill would also grant specific
authority to health care providers to ignore
the wishes of family members regarding end-of-life care provided to their loved ones.
The legislation, House Committee Substitute for House Bill 144,
known as the "Designated Health Care Decision-Maker Act." The proposal
is sponsored by Representative Joe Don McGaugh of Carrollton. The
measure has been pushed by attorneys and agents for the hospital and
elder care industry.
The underlying objective of the legislation
is to establish a person to make end-of-life decisions for a patient
when that person never executed a durable power of attorney (DPOA) for
health care. Under a DPOA, a person designates someone to make
health care decisions for them when they become incapacitated, and spells out the conditions under which they want medical care provided or withheld.
the absence of a durable power of attorney for health care, House Bill
144 creates a tiered system of decision-making with regard to the health
care needs of the person or patient in question. A priority
system is etched into law under which a spouse would first have the
right to make such decisions. In the absence of a spouse, an adult
child of the patient would decide such matters.
priority sequence continues with a parent of the patient, an adult
sibling of the patient, a grandparent or adult grandchild of the
patient, or "any other adult relative or nonrelative who can demonstrate
that he or she has a close personal relationship with the patient and
is familiar with the patient's personal values."
The grave harm in the bill is that the "designated health care
decision-maker" is authorized to withhold basic life-saving and
life-sustaining treatment, including
nutrition and hydration, which would result in the death of a patient
who is "incapacitated." Thus, a person never chosen by the patient
to make health care decisions for them would have the legal authority
to starve them to death.
The definition of an "incapacitated"
person is borrowed from Missouri's guardianship statutes. It is
defined as "a person who is unable by reason of any physical or mental
condition to receive and evaluate information or to communicate
decisions to such an extent that the person lacks capacity to meet
essential requirements for food, clothing, shelter, safety, or other
This extremely loose and reckless definition of who is
incapacitated encompasses individuals with physical and mental
disabilities, individuals who are suffering
from Alzheimer's disease or dementia, or other individuals with
diminishing mental capacity or a confused mental state. The
bill would make such persons vulnerable to passive euthanasia practices
in the same way the durable power of attorney law did in
An even more alarming
provision of the bill would grant express authority to hospitals and
other health care providers to override the decisions of family members
regarding care provided to their loved ones. Should a hospital
disagree with a "designated health care decision-maker" that certain
life-sustaining measures, including nutrition and hydration, are in the
interests" of the patient, they can seek to suspend treatment by going
to court. An expedited hearing would occur in probate court to
appoint an outside individual or the hospital themselves as the
temporary or permanent guardian of the patient.
This is very
disturbing. There are more and more incidents occurring in the
United States and around the world where health care providers have
halted nutrition and hydration, and life-sustaining treatment, against
the wishes of the family. Family members have watched their loved
one die because of the overt actions of health care administrators to
deny necessary health care or sustenance to a patient or resident they
no longer want occupying a room or a bed.
Substitute for House Bill 144 was adopted by the Missouri House by a
very disappointing vote of 127-5. We commend Representatives Jack
Bondon, Tila Hubrecht, Tom Hurst, Mike Moon, and Jeff Pogue, for having the wisdom to oppose this bill.
measure now moves to the Senate, where a companion bill has been
sponsored by Senator Dan Hegeman. We encourage you to contact your
state senator to urge them to vote against the "Designated Health Care
You can do so by using this link:Missouri Senate