Planned Parenthood

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The last time the Senate Interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life met, members threatened to hold a Nixon administration official in contempt unless she produced documents identifying which hospital had a working relationship with Columbia's Planned Parenthood clinic.

That became a moot point when Department of Health and Senior Services Director Gail Vasterling sent the committee a letter stating that Colleen McNicholas, M.D., had received admitting privileges from University of Missouri Health Care.

Department of Health and Senior Services Director Gail Vasterling
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

A Missouri Senate committee is threatening legal sanctions against a member of Gov. Jay Nixon's cabinet after the first day of hearings into the operations of Planned Parenthood in Missouri.

Committee chairman Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, on Thursday asked Department of Health and Senior Services Director Gail Vasterling to disclose the name of the hospital that has a working agreement with Planned Parenthood's Columbia clinic.  Vasterling refused.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Senate Republicans plan to vote on legislation next week stripping nearly $540 million from Planned Parenthood following the release of undercover videos that appear to show organization officials talking casually about selling fetal tissue and organs. Those videos, released by an anti-abortion group, have outraged abortion opponents and ignited a swift response on Capitol Hill.

Attorney General Chris Koster, left, and Missouri Sen. Tom Dempsey have announced separate investigations of Planned Parenthood operations in the state.
official photos

Underscoring the political power of the abortion issue in Missouri, Attorney General Chris Koster’s announcement that he has “opened an investigation into whether Planned Parenthood clinics in Missouri have violated state law” touched off a series of actions on both sides.

Adrian Clark | Flickr / Flickr

For the past eight years, Missouri has had a 24-hour wait rule for abortions: Women seeking to end a pregnancy must visit a clinic for an initial health consultation before waiting 24 hours to have the procedure.

On Friday, a new state law goes into effect that triples the wait time. The law includes no exemptions for rape or incest, which is one reason Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, vetoed it. But the state legislature last month overrode his veto.

Paula Gianino is president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.
Provided

   A new Missouri state law requiring women to wait 72 hours to have an abortion after their initial consultation is set to take effect Friday, and the state’s only abortion provider says it will not immediately appeal the measure in court.

President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, Paula Gianino, said attorneys for their national organization did not think an appeal would be successful in state or federal court.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Early drought exacting a toll on regional corn farmers

Extreme heat and drought are driving down what many farmers expected to be a bumper corn crop.  

Back in March and April, warm weather had Midwestern farmers planting corn at a record setting pace.

In Illinois alone, an estimated more than 13 million acres of corn were planted this year.  

Now, many growers are in full on damage control as record setting heat continues to drive down expected yields.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Legislation that would allow employers to block insurance coverage for birth control, abortions and sterilizations, all for religious reasons, has passed a Missouri Senate committee.

The bill was filed in response to President Obama’s recent mandate that church-run institutions provide coverage for birth control – that mandate has since been amended to require insurers to provide coverage if a religious employer refuses to do so.  Bishop John Gaydos, representing Missouri’s Catholic bishops, spoke in favor of the bill.

(Flickr Creative Commons User meddygarnet)

The bill is sponsored by GOP House Member David Sater, who owned and operated a pharmacy in Barry County for 30 years.  He says it would not bar pharmacies from selling the so-called "morning after" pill, but would guarantee their right NOT to if the owners so choose.