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Anti-Abortion Forces Rally at Capitol

By LOURDES MARTIN
State Capital Bureau

February 14, 1995

JEFFERSON CITY _ More than 500 anti-abortion advocates from around the state spent the day in Missouri's Capitol for the annual Pro-Life Lobby Day (Feb. 14)

They rallied under the rotunda in the morning and then spent the rest of the day talking with legislators and urging support for abortion restrictions.

``We know we don't gain anything with our being here, but the satisfaction that we are doing God's work,'' Pamm Manning, Missouri Right to Life Political Action Committee Chairman told the advocates at the morning orientation session.

Some schools organized trips for the event, like St. Joseph School at Salisbury, Mo. Others were Catholic groups, like the Newman Center's student organization at the University of Missouri in St. Louis.

``We hope to talk to several representatives for continuing the support for the pro-life movement. With abortion, there is always a lot of regret and we want to favor the laws that give the women the possibility possible to make the better decision,'' student of the Newman Center, Bill Booth, said.

Deborah Buckner, lobbyist for Missouri Right to Life, advised the group to concentrate on anti-abortion and undecided legislators.

``Be considered and polite when you talk with your representatives or senators. Some of them are pro-life against their party position and that is a big pressure. We will get more things with heart than with anger,'' Buckner said.

The main goals pro-life people came to lobby for are the Women's Medical Equity Act and an amendment to keep family planning funds from going to clinics that refer, promote or provide abortions.

The first proposal would eliminate the two-year time limit for a woman to bring suit for injuries suffered from abortion. Instead, it will provide for a three-year statute of limitation from the time a woman determined that an abortion had caused her mental, physical or psychological harm.

''A woman may not discover her injury until years after the procedure is performed, sometimes even 10 years, because the medical assessment was not correct or complete. And this measure won't permit excessive suits, because the woman will always have to present some kind of documented proof,'' said Patty Skain, director of Missouri Right to Life.

Separate from this is the issue of government funding for family planning centers. Although current funding prohibits use of the government funds to perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning, Missouri Right to Life argues that when the money goes to abortion clinics, it is a way to indirectly subsidize abortions.

''We don't take position in the matter of contraception. The problem is that without the limitation that we propose, the state's money inevitably ends up indirectly promoting the business of abortion. Money is money, and the more of it that comes from the state, the less has to be raised form other sources,'' Skain said.

Manning also asked the anti-abortion forces to oppose the appointment of Henry Foster as H.D. Surgeon General.

``Foster is a radical abortionist known for his long and unfortunate relation with Planned Parenthood as board director. I encouraged you to go tonight to your homes and call or write U.S. Sens. John Ashcroft and Christopher Bond to express your opposition to the appointment of this national advocate of abortion,'' Manning said.



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