Friday, July 13, 2007

Planned Parenthood 'education' shut down

Planned Parenthood 'education' shut down
Law bans abortion providers from teaching sex ed in schools
Posted: July 12, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern By Chelsea Schilling © 2007

Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt has signed a bill into law that prevents abortion providers from teaching sex education in schools and makes a state Alternatives to Abortion Services Program permanent.

"All life is precious and needs to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect," the Republican governor said in a press release. "I commend Rep. Therese Sander and Sen. Delbert Scott on their work to protect the rights of the most vulnerable members of our society. I will continue working with the Missouri General Assembly to pass strong pro-life legislation that respects the sanctity and dignity of all human life."

Blunt said House Bill 1055 is "one of the strongest pieces of pro-life legislation in Missouri history" as he spoke during a signing ceremony at Concord Baptist Church. The legislation prohibits school districts and charter schools from providing abortion services or allowing abortion providers from offering, sponsoring or furnishing course materials related to human sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases.

Missouri Right to Life, the pro-life group backing the measure, told WND that abortion providers like Planned Parenthood should not be allowed to supply sex education materials to schools. President Pam Fichter said the organization is pleased to see HB 1055 signed into law.

"This legislation is going to protect women, save lives and also protect our school children," she told WND. "It is going to keep out of the classroom those who have a conflict of interest because this disallows those who are abortion providers from teaching sex ed. You wouldn't ask tobacco companies to come to schools and teach about smoking cessation, so why would you ask abortion providers to teach sex education?"

Blunt echoed her concern, claiming materials provided by Planned Parenthood constitute a "significant source of revenue" for the organization. However, Planned Parenthood claims to provide sex education materials to schools at no cost. It also says staff members who teach sex education in 41 Missouri schools are told not to discuss abortions.

In addition to preventing abortion clinics from providing sex education in schools, the new bill permanently establishes the Missouri Alternatives to Abortion Services Program to provide services or counseling to pregnant women and assistance to mothers in caring for their children or placing them up for adoption. Counseling and services are available to women during pregnancy and for one year after the birth of the child.

Missouri law requires departments administering the program to develop an advertising campaign publicizing alternatives to abortion and to prioritize federal, public and private money for such programs first. Funds will not be used to perform, induce or assist in abortions.

The legislation has Planned Parenthood personnel concerned that new surgical standards could cause clinic closures. HB 1055 places a large number of abortion facilities under government oversight, classifying them as ambulatory surgical centers. According to Associated Press reports, Planned Parenthood has said the law could force it to spend up to $2 million to remodel one of its clinics and halt medical abortions at another.

Paula Gianino, president of Planned Parenthood for the St. Louis region, estimated the new standards under HB 1055 could leave only one abortion facility in the state. However, Fichter expressed little apprehension for Planned Parenthood's financial hardships.

"Well that certainly wouldn't cause us any concern," Fichter told WND. "This requirement is a common sense medical safeguard requiring abortion clinics to adhere to the same regulations as other clinics that perform surgery. So, this is just setting some common sense standards for abortion clinics. If they have problems adhering to that, you have to ask why they aren't currently maintaining those types of standards."

The AP reported a similar reaction from Gov. Blunt regarding hardships for abortion clinics: "I say if they can't meet the same basic requirements that other (medical) providers do, then they should shut down."