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Tony Messenger is the metro columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Missouri House passes controversial new abortion bill

Governor Mike Parson holds a press conference in his capitol building office on Friday, May 17, 2019, on the final session of the Missouri legislature. Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

Dear St. Louis Suburban Mom,

As you know, you’re kind of a big deal, perhaps the most important demographic in American elections these days. When our party, the Republican Party, got its hat handed to us nationally in the last midterms, it was suburban moms like you who really did us damage.

Well, not you, specifically. You still mostly voted for Rep. Ann Wagner. Thanks for that. But she’s nervous enough about 2020 that she’s started up a suburban caucus. That’s how important you are.

In light of that, we thought we’d explain to you what an incredible job we did standing up for you in the recently completed session of the Missouri Legislature.

First off, and this is really important: We didn’t raise your taxes. As you save to send your children to college, it’s important to us to allow you to spend your hard-earned money the way you want to. Of course, that doesn’t mean college isn’t going to get more expensive. Because we are so committed to never, ever raising taxes, Missouri is among the lowest-funded higher education systems in the country. And that’s why the Board of Curators of the University of Missouri voted to raise tuition 5 percent starting next year. Some might call that a back-door tax increase. Not us.

Speaking of college, if you are sending your daughter to a university in the state — public or private — we want you to know about our efforts to change the federal Title IX regulations meant to protect her from sexual assault or discrimination. We fell just short in our effort to gut those Obama-era regulations this year, but rest assured, we’ll be back at it next year.

Keep in mind, the university folks, and various women’s advocacy groups, will tell your daughter that our efforts would have made it less likely that she would report a sexual assault during her time in school. And this is likely true. But think about the other side of this. Too many of the sons of your wealthier neighbors are facing the unintended consequences of such protections. Some of them had to switch universities just because they are no longer allowed to, as conservative commentator Stephen Moore put it, do “stupid things” and “chase skirts.” Can you imagine the horror of having to face your friends at the country club and have to tell them Young Tanner ended up transferring to Vatterott College from Washington University?

We’ve got those boys’ backs and want you to know we’ll be fighting for them again next legislative session.

While we fell a little short there, here’s where we were really successful. Missouri passed one of the most severe abortion bans in the country. That means that if your daughter does happen to get pregnant after she gets raped on campus, we’ve assured that she has to carry the rapist’s baby to full term.

We’re sure you recall several years back when our party wasn’t fully committed to such a pro-life position. That was during the Todd Akin days, when, as you’ll recall, many of you ended up voting for Democrat Claire McCaskill for Senate because of Akin’s unfortunate “legitimate rape” comments. Trust us, we’re past that. We’ve moved on to “consensual rape,” like what happens when the frat boy is out sowing his wild oats. Of course, such rapes can lead to babies, and now we’re going to protect those babies.

When that baby is born, likely after your daughter drops out of school, of course, we want to be sure to continue to protect your hard-earned tax dollars.

That’s why we’ve made sure that tens of thousands of Missouri children, most of them poor, no longer have access to Medicaid. Once again, this is an area where Missouri is leading the nation. You can thank the Missouri Republican Party for that.

Here’s another area where we stand out: If your daughter, after dropping out of college and giving birth to her rapist’s baby, turns to a life of drugs, such as opioids, Missouri will protect her personal health information better than any other state in the nation.

You see, every other state has a law that will stop your daughter from doctor shopping to find the drugs she has become addicted to. To accomplish that, they have created prescription drug monitoring programs that allow medical professionals and some law enforcement agencies to have access to your daughter’s health information.

Thanks to the Missouri Republican Party, Missouri is the only state in the nation that doesn’t have such a database. We’re proud of that. We value your freedom too much to spend any taxpayer dollars on protecting the life of your daughter, or her baby, once he or she is born, of course.

Freedom and fetuses. That’s what we’re about.

Vote for us in 2020.

Thank you,

Missouri Republican Party

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