May 28, 2019
It helps Republicans. No, it helps Democrats. When it comes to the surge of pro-life bills in the states, the media can't seem to decide which party has the momentum. But in places like Missouri, the political benefits are the last thing on anyone's minds. If you ask leaders like Governor Mike Parson (R-Mo.), there's only one group of people they care about helping with their legislation: moms and their unborn.
"By signing House Bill 126," Parson said on Friday, "we are sending a strong signal to the nation that, in Missouri, we stand for life, protect women's health, and advocate for the unborn. All life has value and is worth protecting." For anyone keeping track, it was the third early abortion ban signed into law in as many weeks. Georgia kicked off the month with a heartbeat bill, followed by Alabama's outright ban, and now, Missouri made sure to head into Memorial Day weekend resolved not to lose another innocent life in vain.
And while the state was at it, leaders decided to shore up some other things -- like parental notification for abortion, expand the tax credits for contributions to pregnancy care centers, and refuse to let race, sex, or a diagnosis like Down syndrome be an excuse to destroy any baby's life. In language that's sure to drive the other side absolutely crazy, the law also recognizes that "God is the author of life" and declares Missouri a "sanctuary of life." The goal, pointed out state Rep. Nicolas Schroer (R), isn't to pick a fight in the courts. But if it does, he vows, they'll be ready.
"This legislation has one goal," Schroer told the press, "and that is to save lives... to withstand judicial challenges and not cause them." Judging by the latest string of cases, Schroer won't have to wait long to test that theory. As the first eight-week ban of the bunch, groups like the ACLU probably had their finger over the "send" button of their first challenge by Friday morning. And, like Alabama and Georgia, there are no exceptions after two months but one: if the mother's life is in jeopardy
Even on that, Governor Parson navigated the potential landmines like a pro. "Is it a terrible thing that happens in those situations [of rape and incest]?" he asked. "Yes, it is. ... But the reality of it is bad things do happen sometimes. But you have two months to decide what you're going to do with that issue, and I believe in two months you can make a decision," he said. So do Missouri Democrats. Before the abortion crowd starts howling that these positions are "too controversial," Rep. Joe Runions (D) would beg to differ. He bucked his party and voted for one of the strongest pro-life laws in the country, despite his fellow Democrats' fear-mongering.
Runions, like more than 120 state Democrats across the country, saw right through the Left's hysterics -- which, in this case, included one state representative insisting that women would start using "laundry, bleach, knitting needles, bicycle spokes, and ballpoint pens" to kill their unborn children if HB 126 passed. Her outburst must not have been all that persuasive, since the bill sailed out the House with a 66-vote cushion (110-44).
Overwhelmed by the speed these states are passing pro-life bills, Planned Parenthood's Leana Wen sounded the alarm. "This is not a drill. This is not a warning. This is a real public health crisis." For who, no one is quite sure. After all, Missouri's law protects children, spares moms, and even warns parents. When all is said and done, the only crisis is for businesses like Planned Parenthood, who've never been interested in real women's care in the first place.
Things were already bleak for the country's richest abortion network, whose "deficient practices" could cost the industry their only clinic in the state. According to Wen's organization, Missouri's health department is "refusing to renew" its annual license after an investigation uncovered some less-than-flattering details about their operation. If nothing changes by May 31, Missouri could be the first state without an abortion center since 1973. Although the location could still offer other services, abortion is Planned Parenthood money-maker so expect the doors to close.
If the St. Louis location has to stop performing abortions, Wen predicted, "Today it's Missouri. Tomorrow it could be all of America." From her mouth to God's ears!
For more on the pro-life wave in the states, don't miss my interview on Saturday morning's "Fox & Friends."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.