The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

State News

October 28, 2007

Analysis: Blunt task force examining how abortions affect women

The Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Gov. Matt Blunt, an abortion opponent, has launched the state on a scientific quest to determine how abortions affect women — a question so complex that it confounded a U.S. surgeon general.

The Governor’s Task Force on the Impact of Abortion on Women convened last week in Blunt’s Capitol office without any of the publicity and promotion that usually accompanies groups on gubernatorial missions.

Its members — all opposed to abortion — were recruited not directly by Blunt’s staff, but rather by a pair of anti-abortion activists.

“This is a very informal group of good people who believe in advancing the cause of life and believe that we should minimize the impact of abortion on society,” Blunt said when asked about his new task force during a Capitol news conference called for a different purpose.

Lest there be any confusion: The effect of abortion is not a wide-open question to Blunt. There’s no likelihood, for example, that his new task force will conclude abortion is positive.

“I certainly would begin with the presumption that abortion has a negative impact on Missouri children, Missouri women, Missouri men, because it’s harmful to society,” Blunt said.

With that framework, the task force still intends to hunt for “truthful, honest information” from researchers, said Cindy Province, a co-founder of the Center for Bioethics and Culture-Missouri, who was asked by Blunt’s chief of staff to help enlist task force members.

“We’re trying to get good evidence about the effect of abortion on women and make decisions about what the state can do to help women who find themselves in the situation of an unplanned pregnancy,” said Province, a nurse at St. Mary’s Health Center in Richmond Heights.

The group is examining the physical, emotional, social and economic effects of abortion, she said.

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