As Samhita noted earlier this week, there’s some legal wrangling going on in Missouri over a TRAP law that would require abortion clinics to perform major modifications to their facilities — modifications so expensive it would effectively shut down two of the three abortion providers in the state. (Which is, of course, the law’s intended effect.)
Planned Parenthood is fighting the law, and today Sarah Posner reports in TAP Online that instead of allowing Attorney General Jay Nixon to represent the state in court, anti-choice Gov. Matt Blunt has decided instead to contract with the Alliance Defense Fund, a right-wing Christian legal group, which will defend the state free of charge. (Just check out the ADF’s anti-choice record.) You see, Nixon is a Democrat who is challenging Blunt for governor in ’08, and Blunt has defended his choice by saying Nixon is too “pro-abortion” to defend the TRAP law.
A little eau du Rove, a little essence of Jesus, and voila! The state is now represented by a powerful organization with its own radical agenda. According to its website, “in 1994, God raised up” ADF to counter the American Civil Liberties Union’s and Planned Parenthood’s “distortion” of the Constitution. As a result of ADF’s litigation efforts “the so-called ‘wall of separation’ … is slowly starting to crumble.” ADF has achieved “significant God-given victories … as we strive for the day when all life is once again legally defended, protected, and affirmed.”
Scott Holtse, a spokesperson for Nixon, who, like Drummond, remains a defendant in his official capacity, seemed half exasperated and half bemused by the shenanigans. Normally the attorney general represents state agencies in litigation against them, and Holtse could think of no other example of when a state agency pushed aside the voters’ elected law enforcement official in favor of an outside lawyer — except when the Department of Natural Resources hired a law firm at which Blunt’s sister was an attorney last year. “We’re focused on doing our job, which is defending the laws of the state of Missouri,” Holtse told the Prospect. “We are not going to be distracted by sideshows.”
I think comparing the ADF to a circus sideshow isn’t quite going far enough. Everyone in Missouri should be really concerned that their government is in bed with this group.