Next week, the Missouri Senate will debate the passage of a group of proposals that will further restrict women’s access to abortion clinics. Republican Governor Eric Greitens called a special session of the state’s legislature to focus on the state’s abortion laws in response to a federal judge striking down several of the laws already on the books.
Earlier this year, Missouri state laws that include a requirement for clinics to comply with hospital standards were deemed invalid by a federal judge. Women’s health organizations brought a lawsuit against the state after similar restrictions were struck down in Texas, arguing that regulations such as these create an undue burden on women seeking abortions.
In response, the Committee on Seniors, Families and Children produced a new package bill with three proposals, including provisions mandating unannounced inspections of clinics and further regulations on how to handle fetal tissue post-procedure.
The bill also includes a provision that nullifies a local St. Louis ordinance that currently forbids an employer from discriminating against a female employee or applicant based on whether or not that person has had an abortion, is pregnant, or uses contraceptive, essentially allowing employers to begin discriminating based on gender.
On Monday, Republican Representative Mike Moon announced his plans to introduce a new bill that would ban abortion in the state of Missouri in a Facebook video that showed him decapitating and skinning a chicken. The “Missouri Right to Life Act” was introduced on June 12 in the Missouri House of Representatives as part of the special session called by Governor Greitens. The bill declares that personhood begins at conception and would outlaw abortion.
Missouri already has several laws that serve as barriers to abortion. According to the Guttmacher Institute, Missouri requires an individual seeking an abortion to receive state-mandated counseling 72 hours prior to the procedure and most women in the state of Missouri have to travel outside their counties to reach a facility that provides abortion services
Media Resources: Washington Post 6/13/17; US News 3/30/17; The Hill 6/13/17; Guttmacher Institute; Missourian 6/14/17