Longtime readers know that I follow Missouri state politics. As a reproductive justice activist, I know which committees in the Missouri House are likely to excrete legislation designed to deny women access to reproductive healthcare under the guise of “protection” and which legislators are keen to pander to special interest groups who pump up their campaign coffers even as they lead their devout herd of single issue anti-choice voters to the polls.
One such committee is the Committee on Children and Families, where former State Representative Cynthia Davis once ruled and once said that the committee would super focus on abortion hinting that all other issues could take a hike.
That disturbing focus on abortion came to mind when I read this piece this morning on StlToday.com…about the lack of regulations for home day care centers, the lack of enforcement for the few rules that exist, and the toll taken in children’s lives.
Abortion is the most regulated medical practice in Missouri. Every session there are new medically inaccurate bills introduced, each heavily laced with insults challenging women’s ability to think and make decisions. And I’ve often wondered about all the other things that need additional regulation but go unaddressed…about the regular things every person could or would participate in that are never discussed under a dome determined to not trust women and eager to pass legislation proclaiming that lack of trust.
My heart sunk when I read the article about home day care centers and children who have died in care at sites that should have been shut down years ago, but for the lack of regulations and enforcement.
And my mind immediately went to that committee with the deceptive title…the one that many Missourians probably think focuses on things like home day care providers and stuff like that…the one that spent an entire legislative session focused on generating legislation to pass more regulations for the most regulated medical practice in the state and gave a pass to hearing legislation that would have helped children and tightened day care regulations.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch piece on home day care abuses did not reference an earlier piece on Cynthia Davis and her abortion focus…a piece published May 2, 2010…a piece that begins with the following…
“Not long ago it was common to find lines of people waiting to testify before the Missouri House Standing Committee on Children and Families.
"Speakers addressed subjects as diverse as child immunizations, day care quality, child abuse, foster care, safety hazards, adoption and abortion.”
And then went on to add…
“But advocates for children's issues and day care safety have quietly grumbled that under Davis' rule, a once vital committee charged with child and family issues has been so focused on abortion that it has avoided other important work.”
That May, Davis refused to hear "Sam Pratt's Law," a childcare safety bill named in honor of an infant who died at an unlicensed home day care provider. The Post then sparked a discussion about legislation that would help protect children if only conservative legislators care for the born as much as they fear women.
Fast-forward to now, and the Post has published this article about home day care neglect…covering the death of Tyler Brody as a result of neglect at a day care.
Tyler died in July of 2010...some 2 months after the 2010 legislative session ended.
The most dangerous place for legislation protecting children and families is in a legislative body that believes women are dangerous and our bodies in need of regulations, let everything else be damned.
The wrong priorities take their toll.
Not "if"...but "when".