Missouri Judge Hears Case Against Teen Endangerment Law
Judge hears arguments that barring information to teens is unconstitutional.
Kansas City, MO — Judge Charles Atwell heard arguments today from Planned Parenthood attorneys against a new state law that creates civil liability for trusted adults — including clergy, family members, teachers, mentors or health care providers — who "cause, aid or assist" a young woman who — for good reason — cannot involve a parent in her decision to have an abortion. The law was signed by Governor Blunt last week after an unusual special session of the Legislature.
"We believe this law jeopardizes the health and safety of Missouri teens," said Peter Brownlie, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. "That's why Planned Parenthood is fighting the law in court."
"Parents want their teenagers to be safe. Isolating teens from information and counsel from a trusted adult in a time of crisis will not keep teens safe," said Paula Gianino, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region.
Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri and Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region filed the suit in Jackson County's State Circuit Court. Planned Parenthood is seeking a temporary restraining order to stop enforcement of the law.
"This unprecedented and dangerous law attempts to impose Missouri's legal restrictions on Missouri teens when they travel outside the state," said Eve Gartner, senior staff attorney for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "The law threatens health care providers within and outside Missouri who provide accurate medical information and/or safe, legal health care services to a young person in need. The law violates the Missouri Constitution and the U.S. Constitution and puts young people at risk."
After failing to enact draconian anti-choice legislation in the last days of the regular 2005 Legislative Session, Governor Blunt was heavily criticized by Missouri Right to Life and other anti-choice lobby groups. This month Governor Blunt called legislators back to Jefferson City for a special session on abortion restrictions in an attempt to deflect criticism from anti-choice lobby groups.
During the special session, the Missouri House and Senate refused to take up the Prevention First Act sponsored by Senator Joan Bray and Representative Robin Wright Jones, which would expand access to proven prevention programs like family planning, emergency contraception and comprehensive sex education.
"If Governor Blunt truly wanted to make abortion rare, he would expand access to family planning, emergency contraception and sex education," said Gianino. "This law is cruel evidence that Governor Blunt prioritizes politics over women's health."