Or if you’ve overseen an incompetent [accessed 10/13/2020] state response to COVID-19.
Thank you for accessing the Show Me Strong COVID-19 dashboards. The public health dashboards are currently under maintenance and were last updated on Saturday, October 10. They will be back up and running soon once a database extract error is resolved. Read more here on the website of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
The indicated link at “here” in the announcement on the Missouri DHSS COVID-19 dashboard site is broken.
…As of Tuesday afternoon, there have been at least 149,731 cases and 2,486 deaths in Missouri since the beginning of the pandemic, according to a New York Times database…
Or if you’ve cut off 100,000 Missouri Children from access to health care.
“…one of more than 100,000 Missouri children who have been dropped from the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program since 2018. In September 2019, the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission reported that Missouri had the largest decline — 15.1 percent — in children covered by those two insurance programs between May 2017 and May 2019. Parson became governor on June 1, 2018, following the resignation of Governor Eric Greitens…”
We got mail today from the right wingnut PAC, Uniting Missouri, propping up Mike Parson’s (r) gubernatorial campaign:
A bill, introduced by Mike Moon (r):
SECOND REGULAR SESSION
HOUSE BILL NO. 1911 [pdf]
100TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVE MOON.
4175H.01I DANA RADEMAN MILLER, Chief Clerk
To amend chapter 14, RSMo, by adding thereto one new section relating to taxation.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:
Section A. Chapter 14, RSMo, is amended by adding thereto one new section, to be known as section 14.080, to read as follows: 14.080. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the state of Missouri shall not remit any taxes including, but not limited to, federal withholding taxes, to the federal government of the United States unless the federal government prohibits the use of any federal funds for abortions. This prohibition shall include abortions resulting from rape or incest and abortions performed to save a person’s life.
It’s right wingnuts. It’s the Missouri General Assembly. What else did you expect?
We are surprised there isn’t boilerplate tenther drivel in the mix.
Yesterday was the first day of bill filing (“prefiling”) for the 2020 Regular Session (100th General Assembly, 2nd Regular Session) of the Missouri General Assembly.
Today, a bill filed by a member of the Democratic Party super minority:
Establishes the “Respect Women’s Abortion Decisions Act”
Sponsor: Morgan, Judy (024)
Proposed Effective Date: 8/28/2020
LR Number: 3510H.01I
Last Action: 12/03/2019 – Prefiled (H)
Bill String: HB 1574
Next House Hearing: Hearing not scheduled
Calendar: Bill currently not on a House calendar
It’ll never see the calendar.
Today was the first day of bill filing (“prefiling”) for the 2020 Regular Session (100th General Assembly, 2nd Regular Session) of the Missouri General Assembly.
Behold, some of the priorities of the republican super majority in the House:
Establishes the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act”
Sponsor: Richey, Doug (038)
Proposed Effective Date: 8/28/2020
LR Number: 3031H.01I
Last Action: 12/02/2019 – Prefiled (H)
Bill String: HB 1539
Next House Hearing: Hearing not scheduled
Calendar: Bill currently not on a House calendar
There will, of course, be many more like this.
From Planned Parenthood:
Planned Parenthood’s Statement on Missouri’s Top Health Official Admitting He Investigated Menstrual Cycles of Missouri Women
For Immediate Release: Oct. 29, 2019
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, Acting President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“This is the reality when people in power want to strip away our rights and freedoms. They force medically unnecessary pelvic exams, investigate menstrual cycles, and do whatever it takes to take control of our bodies, our lives, and our futures. Enough is enough. Every person deserves access to safe, legal abortion without fearing their personal information will be used to wage political war. This is unacceptable and we demand better — for our patients and any person who needs access to safe, legal abortion.”
Statement from Yamelsie Rodriguez, President and CEO, Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region:
“Today’s revelation is deeply disturbing: Missouri’s top health official, Randall Williams, scrutinized menstrual cycles of women in this state in order to end abortion access. He requested a spreadsheet to track the periods of Planned Parenthood patients. As part of Gov. Parson’s effort to end abortion access in Missouri, Williams manufactured a solution in search of a problem.
“Missouri politicians have gone too far. This is government overreach at its worst. It shadows the Trump administration’s history of tracking the periods of refugee girls under the government’s care. This is outrageous and disgusting. Planned Parenthood will always do what’s best for patients and that will guide any decisions we make about how we continue fighting for abortion access.”
From NARAL Missouri:
October 30, 2019/Press Release
NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri Statement: Randall Williams Is a Disgrace to Missouri, Must Go
ST. LOUIS, MO — In response to recent revelations that the Director of Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services Randall Williams monitored the menstrual cycles of women who visited Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood in St. Louis — in an effort to restrict their fundamental right to access abortion care — NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri Executive Director Mallory Schwarz released the following statement:
“Randall Williams has undoubtedly abused his power in the most egregious way: denying the right to access critical health care to those whose health and safety he’s charged to protect. This insidious attack on Missourians’ constitutional rights put into plain view Williams’ coordinated efforts to force his extreme anti-choice agenda on the people of Missouri, and ultimately block them from accessing legal abortion.”
“Under the leadership of Republican Governor Mike Parson, Williams has co-opted public health into a tool of abuse and injustice. From weaponizing the licensure process to deny the state’s only abortion provider its license, to forcing an invasive, medically unnecessary pelvic exam on more than one hundred Missourians, Williams has jeopardized the health of 1.1 million women, trans and non-binary folks of reproductive age, denying them the health care they need, want, and deserve.”
“Randall Williams is a disgrace to Missourians across the state, and he must go. As long as abortion-obsessed extremists like Williams are in power, NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri will fight back in every way we know how. We demand his resignation, as this is clearly the only way to prevent him from continuing to wreak havoc on our health, and impose his fringe, anti-choice agenda on all Missourians.”
Also from NARAL Missouri:
ST. LOUIS, MO — Missouri’s leading grassroots reproductive freedom advocacy organization launched the #TrackThisRandy social media campaign in response to disturbing revelations that Missouri’s Director of the Department of Health and Senior Services Randall Williams tracked the menstrual cycles of people who visited Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood in St. Louis, the state’s only remaining clinic that provides abortion.
This tongue-in-cheek campaign encourages people who menstruate to upload a photo of a period product with #TrackThisRandy written across, and share detailed information about their menstrual cycle: Cramps, irregularity, birth control use, and menopause. For every photo featuring the hashtag, NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri has pledged to donate one box of period products to the St. Louis Alliance for Period Supplies.
“Randall Williams must be held accountable for violating Missourians’ most basic freedoms: The right to privacy and to make personal health care decisions about our bodies — without government coercison,” said NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri Executive Director Mallory Schwarz. “#TrackThisRandy is a rallying cry for the women, trans, and non-binary folks whose health and safety Randall Williams has jeopardized in his crusade to push abortion completely out of reach in Missouri.”
“It’s clear that Randall Williams has prioritized obsessing over the menstrual cycles of people who visited Planned Parenthood of St. Louis, over ensuring the health and safety of Missourians across the state, including improving access to adequate period products for those who need them. More than two-thirds of people of low-income in St. Louis are unable to access period products, and are forced to used unhealthy alternatives such rags. But the reality is that when Randall Williams refuses to do his job, NARAL Missouri commits to doing ours: Fighting for every person’s ability to access the full scope of reproductive health care — without shame, judgement, or fear of retaliation.”
The #TrackThisRandy social media campaign has garnered participation from more than 500 advocates in Missouri and across the states, including current and former elected officials. [….]
From the Missouri Department of Health and Seniors Services:
DHSS denies false allegations
For Immediate Release:
Oct. 30, 2019
JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Irresponsible reporting has led to false claims that Dr. Randall Williams tracks the menstrual cycles of women seeking abortions at Planned Parenthood. The story was based on an erroneous email subject line that both staff and sworn testimony has acknowledged is not accurate. Nothing in the Administrative Hearing Commission testimony that Dr. Williams gave on Oct. 29, or in the Oct. 17 deposition, could in any way be cited to support this false claim that he ordered “spreadsheets” or any document to be created to do such. In fact, during Dr. Williams’ Oct.17 deposition, Planned Parenthood’s attorney Chuck Hatfield asked, “Do you recall making a request related to duplicate records which appear to be duplicate ITOPs [Induced Termination of Pregnancy] with last normal menses date?” Dr. Williams answered, “No, sir.” This “issue” was given very little attention at the hearing and has been falsely reported with the purpose of sensationalizing the hearing, drawing in readers and distracting from the truth.
The truth is that as part of our initial inspection, a concern came up that DHSS may not be receiving complication reports for all failed surgical abortions, as required by law. Without a directive from Dr. Randall Williams, regulators devised a means to efficiently investigate that concern using legally-obtained information which was required by law and which Planned Parenthood routinely submits. A Department investigator took the data in DHSS possession and narrowed if from approximately 3,000 abortions conducted in 2018 to 67 instances where the same woman had multiple abortions in the same year. The data was further narrowed to exclude multiple abortions and ultimately identified a case where a failed abortion was not reported by Planned Parenthood, in violation of Missouri Law. Only then was the case shared by regulators with Dr. Williams. Dr. Williams did not possess a spreadsheet of patient information, and although there was no wrong-doing by regulators, the first time he saw the spreadsheet was at the time of his deposition on Oct. 17. HIPAA compliance was not a factor in this activity as no patient data has been released. This information, in fact, was important in the investigative process in ensuring that facilities are safe for patients.
A long-standing legal mandate requires that “an individual abortion report for each abortion performed or induced upon a woman shall be completed by the physician who performed or induced the abortion.” (RSMo 188.052) With regard to these reports, a regulation was promulgated to detail the required contents of the reports. This rule, 19 CSR 10-15.010, establishes the content of the ITOP report to be filed with the Department. One of the required details in the rule is last normal menses (menstruation). Necessarily, DHSS retains this documentation. Per practice, the reports are reviewed when a complication is reported for an abortion procedure. In order to ensure that our laws and health care standards are being met, reports from abortion facilities, by law, must be reviewed. In this case, Planned Parenthood was not compliant with the complication report requirement for failed abortions. Regulators realized this, and as a result they used the tools they had to protect the health of those who seek abortions at Planned Parenthood.
Well, somebody at DHSS did, didn’t they?
“Irresponsible reporting”? That’s a term that mediocre communications professionals use when they’re trying to defend the indefensible.
Missouri GOP – the party of small government (October 29, 2019)
A statement from Missouri House Democratic Minority Leader Crystal Quade:
House Minority Caucus
Rep. Crystal Quade
Revelations about health department director unsettling
“The revelation that Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director Randall Williams used the power of his position to personally track the menstrual periods of Planned Parenthood patients is deeply disturbing. State law requires the health department director to be ‘of recognized character and integrity.’ This unsettling behavior calls into question whether Doctor Williams meets that high standard. Governor Parson must immediately investigate whether patient privacy was compromised or laws broken and determine if this is a person who Missourians can be comfortable having in a position of public trust.”
House Minority Leader Crystal Quade
Tracking menstrual periods. That’s going to go over really well with your average Missourian, don’t you think?
Kirsten Gillibrand @SenGillibrand
As MO’s remaining abortion provider begins an all-out fight to keep their doors open, I’m thinking of the brave advocates pushing back on these outrageous attacks. It was great to meet with many of you this summer in St. Louis to talk about how we keep fighting. I’m with you.
12:29 PM · Oct 28, 2019
Federal Court Injunction on HB 126 (August 29, 2019)
On action in federal court, a press release today from the ACLU:
BREAKING: Federal Court in Missouri Blocks Cascading Abortion Bans
U.S. District Court judge finds Missouri’s law likely unconstitutional on the merits, blocks major portions of abortion law one day before they were set to take effect.
August 27, 2019
ST. LOUIS — Today, a U.S. District Court judge in the Western District of Missouri granted a preliminary injunction, blocking several provisions of Missouri’s sweeping abortion bans passed earlier this year. The blocked bans, which would have made abortion illegal starting at eight weeks, would have taken effect tomorrow. This lawsuit challenges a law that created an unprecedented number of bans at once, at nearly every stage of pregnancy, which is part of a multi-layered effort by state politicians to push abortion out of reach for 1.1 million Missourians of reproductive age. The provision the court allowed to take effect, at least at this preliminary stage, blocks patients from seeking an abortion based on race, gender, or Down syndrome diagnosis. Missouri is now one of eight states that force doctors to investigate why their patients are making a deeply personal medical decision. The court indicated openness to reviewing the issue again on a renewed motion.
In May, emboldened by the Trump administration, Gov. Mike Parson signed House Bill 126, which imposes a series of draconian abortion bans and medically unnecessary restrictions designed to make it impossible for patients to access abortion. Last month, Planned Parenthood, along with partners at the ACLU and law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, took the state of Missouri to court over the clearly unconstitutional abortion bans. With only one abortion provider left in the state, access is left hanging by a thread.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, Acting President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America: “Today’s decision blocks a harmful law that bans abortion before many know they’re pregnant. What little abortion access in Missouri is left will stay in place for the time being. In the meantime, we cannot ignore the part of this law that remains in place, which allows politicians to interfere with the patient-provider relationship. Let’s be very clear: these severe restrictions on abortion access do nothing to address disability rights or discrimination. They only stigmatize abortion and shame the people who seek that care. Planned Parenthood won’t cower to politicians. We will continue fighting in court and working with every person to ensure they get the health care they need and deserve.”
Statement from Dr. Colleen McNicholas, Chief Medical Officer, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region: “Abortion access has once again been protected in Missouri by the courts, but only for some. Although the judge recognized the merits of our case, he has also allowed parts of the law to go into effect. While most people seeking abortion will thankfully still be able to do so, allowing the reason ban to take effect will have a measurable impact. It requires physicians to interrogate patients and, in turn, destroys the foundation of trust essential in a health care setting. Missourians do not need or want politicians in their exam rooms. My patients deserve access to high-quality abortion care, and they deserve the space to make those decisions based on their values, life circumstances, support system, and faith, free of government scrutiny. Although we are grateful today’s ruling allows us to provide care to some Missourians, we will continue to defend the truth: EVERY reason to have an abortion is a valid reason.”
Statement from Andrew Beck, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project: “Today’s decision affirms that abortion is still a constitutional right — and we will do everything possible to keep it that way. This fight isn’t over until everyone who needs an abortion in Missouri can get one.”
Statement from Tony Rothert, Legal Director, ACLU-Missouri: “House Bill 126 is an offensive intrusion into private medical decision-making that would have jeopardized the health and well-being of Missourians in need of abortion care. This law put politicians at the center of a deeply personal decision that belongs to a pregnant person and those they trust most: their family and health care providers — not the government. We applaud the decision of the court to uphold the Constitution and stop HB 126.”
Missouri is one of 12 states to pass an abortion ban just in the first half of this year. State politicians, emboldened by President Trump, have passed a total of 26 abortion bans nationwide in 2019 alone. With Justice Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, anti-abortion politicians are racing to pass bills designed to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Anti-abortion politicians in Missouri have spent decades eroding reproductive health care. As a result, Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region is the last remaining health center in the state that still provides abortion. Gov. Parson signed this sweeping abortion ban into law while weaponizing the state’s licensing process. Parson said his goal was to make Missouri the “most pro-life state in America.”
It is not new for politicians in Missouri or elsewhere to use a combination of state laws and regulatory harassment to target abortion providers — in fact, Missouri already used similar targeting to block the only other health center in the state that provided abortions from continuing to do so in 2018. Parson’s administration forced more than 100 patients to undergo medically unnecessary pelvic exams before abruptly rescinding the requirement. That’s on top of dozens of medically unnecessary restrictions that make abortion nearly impossible to access. These restrictions include a 72-hour mandatory delay for patients accessing abortion, which forces patients to make two trips to the health center, and demanding abortion providers hold local hospital admitting privileges. This, despite the fact that support for access to abortion in America is at an all-time high — and growing.
While the state is cutting off access to abortion, maternal and reproductive health in the state is in crisis. Maternal mortality rates in Missouri are more than 50 percent higher than the national average, and a syphilis outbreak is sweeping the state. The same politicians who claim to value “life” continue to sit idly by while public health outcomes worsen.
HB 126, brought to you by:
HB 126 and HB 127: catering to their single issue base (December 3, 2018)
Gov. Mike Parson (r): Alabama, hold my beer… (May 15, 2019)
Gov. Mike Parson (r): New York is shorthand for what? (May 16, 2019)
Medieval (May 17, 2019)
HB 126: the elephant in the womb (May 24, 2019)
HB 126: “…here for the ratio” (May 25, 2016)
Missouri: Medieval (May 28, 2019)
ACLU: Referendum Petition filed on HB 126 (May 28, 2019)
Our nation turns its eyes to Missouri (June 1, 2019)
In the Medieval State of Missouri (June 4, 2019)
Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (r): Emergency! Emergency! (June 7, 2019)
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D) brought her 2020 presidential campaign to St. Louis this afternoon for a town hall on reproductive rights. Around 330 individuals (that number comes from the campaign) attended the event moderated by St. Louis City Treasurer Tishuara Jones. Senator Gillibrand spoke at the beginning of the town hall then took questions from the audience for a majority of the hour and a half long event.
Waiting in line:
A majority in the audience were reproductive rights activists – as indicated by their t-shirts and signs.
Selfies and photos: