In the 40 years since the Supreme Court made its decision in the Roe v. Wade case, an estimated 50 million abortions have been performed in the United States. Think about that staggering number for a moment – 50 million babies who never had a chance to grow into happy young people or healthy adults. Fifty million lives snuffed out - it's a number big enough to wipe out the population of the entire state of Missouri nearly nine times over. It's a number that should cause anyone who truly cares about protecting and promoting the sanctity of life to shudder at the thought of the path our nation has taken.
We have to acknowledge the fact we live in a world of Roe v. Wade; a world where abortions are legal in every state in our nation. However, what we don't have to do is to allow abortions to be easy or convenient to obtain. I'm proud to say here in Missouri we have blazed our own trail that has made abortions rarer with each passing year. While the national numbers continue to rise and Planned Parenthood continues to set new records for the number of abortions it provides each year, here in Missouri we have seen our numbers buck the national trend and actually decrease. Nationally we have seen nearly 20 out of every 100 pregnancies tragically end in abortion. Here in Missouri that number is dramatically lower at slightly more than six per 100. In fact, in 2010 Missouri saw the lowest number of abortions performed in the state since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. A large part of that impressive reduction in the number of abortions is because of the repeated efforts of your pro-life state legislature to make abortions as rare and safe as possible. We have done that by passing legislation like a bill adopted in 2005 that required doctors that provide abortions to also maintain privileges at a local hospital. It was a move that immediately caused the closure of an abortion clinic in Springfield and ultimately caused the number of clinics in the state to dwindle to just a few. We also have made changes to our law to require that women receive all of the information they need to make an informed decision and to ban barbaric and brutal late-term abortions. The many changes we have made over the years have sent a strong and powerful message that here in Missouri we will stand together to protect the lives of the unborn. That message was sent again just a week ago when my colleagues approved a bill to ban what is known as a webcam abortion. It seems hard to imagine, but in other states we have seen the rise of abortion-inducing drugs like RU-486 being given to women whose only interaction with a doctor is through an online video chat. Planned Parenthood has made it clear that it wants to be able to provide these webcam abortions at all of its facilities, but here in Missouri we are standing strong to say we will not allow such a detestable practice to be allowed within our borders. Keep in mind that these abortion-inducing drugs are no less horrifying than an actual abortion in how they work to cut a life short. What they do is to interrupt the flow of all nutrition to the developing fetus, which in effect starves the child to death. They are also extremely dangerous for the mother as they pose many serious potential side effects including even some cases of death. The severity and finality of these drugs make it obvious that they should not be prescribed by a doctor after a brief chat via Skype. They require a physician that is fully invested in providing care for the mother. The bill we passed last week will prevent webcam abortions by strengthening the requirements for the use of abortion-inducing drugs. Right now, women can take the first round of the medication in the presence of a doctor, but can then take the second drug at home 1 to 2 days later. The bill we approved would change current law so that a physician would have to be present any time an abortion-inducing drug is used. The idea with this change is to ensure there is face-to-face contact between a woman seeking an abortion and a doctor. The primary emphasis is on protecting the health and wellness of the woman by ensuring the doctor continues to be responsible for her physical and psychological well-being. It is extremely important that the doctor continue to be involved in the care of a woman who uses an abortion-inducing drug because of serious side effects I mentioned. Also with this, we can ensure that any questions the woman may have can be answered and that proper informed consent is obtained.
Page 2 of 2 - It's a change I wholeheartedly support and one I hope will make its way through the Senate and into the law. We have seen great success in reducing the number of abortions here in Missouri, but we will continue our pro-life success only by remaining ever-vigilant. Abortion providers like Planned Parenthood will continue to look for new ways to make money by exploiting vulnerable women who don't know where else to turn. We must continue to reject their efforts at every turn so that we can continue to ensure all life is protected here in Missouri.