BILL SPLITS SPRINGFIELD REPS ON PARTY LINES
Lampe, Norr Vote "NO"
AT ISSUE: How You Define "Coercing" An Abortion
The State House has passed legislation that abortion opponents say would help expectant parents "choose life" and Planned Parenthood believes would "push women farther into their pregnancy before they are able to obtain an abortion."
The legislation, co-sponsored by Rep. Shane Schoeller (#139th), passed overwhelmingly. It includes more requirements for clinics and doctors, and is designed to encourage women to seek a variety of options other than abortion. It would also seek to punish individuals for "coercing an abortion." All lawmakers from Southwest Missouri voted to approve the legislation except Democratic Reps. Sara Lampe (138th) and Charlie Norr (137th).
Gov. Matt Blunt commended the House for its work. “Innocent life is not dispensable and we must work with expectant parents to help them choose life," the Governor said.
On the specifics, the bill requires the doctor performing the abortion to provide the woman an opportunity to see an ultrasound, explain to the woman that someone coercing her to get an abortion is illegal and prominently display statements encouraging the woman to contact agencies that help women carry the pregnancy to term.
"These long, checklist bills contain numerous new, burdensome and duplicative requirements for counseling, evaluating, and performing abortion procedures that—according to the proponents—are to ‘protect women,'" said Kellie Rohrbaugh of Planned Parenthood. "In reality, these burdens will likely push women farther into their pregnancy before they are able to obtain the abortion. In addition, the bills create the new felony crime of 'coercing an abortion' and remove decision-making entirely from the woman seeking the procedure," Rohrbaugh added.
“This particular measure is only one piece of a larger agenda backed by groups who are working toward an all-out ban on abortion care in Missouri," she said.
Opponents of the bill are most upset about the definition of coercion, and the liability of parents, relatives and healthcare providers if they urge a woman to have an abortion.
Under this legislation, a person is guilty of coercing an abortion if he or she conspires to commit an unlawful act against the woman or her family, abuses the woman, terminates her employment or revokes or threatens to revoke a scholarship.