Church + State = Missouri
This is really rather shocking
, even for a state like Missouri. I mean, dismissing your own attorney general and going with a Christian legal group? That's beyond strange for a public official:
In a tone befitting a pubescent spat, the director of Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services last week informed the state Attorney General Jay Nixon that she would not be using his services in a lawsuit filed against the state by Planned Parenthood seeking to have a restrictive abortion law declared unconstitutional. It was a highly unusual move, since the attorney general is the state's lawyer, and it is his job to defend the constitutionality of state statutes when they are challenged in court.
"I did not believe I could trust you to defend me and my department vigorously," wrote Jane Drummond, general counsel to Republican Gov. Matt Blunt (son of the House Republican Whip Roy Blunt). "You," Drummond accused the state's chief law enforcement officer, Nixon, who happens to be the Democrat challenging Blunt in Missouri's gubernatorial race next year, "are radically pro-abortion."
In a final talk-to-the-hand flourish, Drummond demanded, "Please have your counsel contact my department related to this case through my new attorneys."
Those new attorneys are with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), the radically anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-separation-of-church-and-state legal powerhouse at the forefront of just about every real and imagined battle in the culture wars. Remember the "War on Christmas?" Gov. Blunt helped ADF fight it last year, when he sent a memo to directors of state agencies, telling them they shouldn't fear "official reprisal" for saying "Merry Christmas," and reassuring them that "[t]his holiday season should not give state employees reason to feel as though they must check their religious views at the door of a government building." ADF, which is dedicated to "protecting our heritage of prayer," praised Blunt's action, calling him one of "several highly visible public officials [who] also gave the efforts of ADF even greater momentum."
The abortion law in question is HB 1055, which, among other things, changes the definition of "ambulatory surgical center" to include any clinic that performs five or more abortions a month. It requires those centers to retrofit their facilities to meet the same requirements imposed on facilities performing other surgical procedures, even if the clinic only performs medication-induced abortions. Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri (PPKM) challenged the law, which was slated to take effect Tuesday, because it would effectively close two clinics for extensive and possibly cost-prohibitive renovations and leave only one abortion clinic in the entire state, in St. Louis. Late Monday, the court granted PPKM's motion for a temporary restraining order, preventing those provisions of the law from taking effect until September 10, when the court will hold another hearing.