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Missouri State House Passes Bill to Expand Abortion Restrictions

The Missouri state House passed a bill expanding upon their existing abortion restrictions on the final day of their legislative session. The bill passed in the House on a 114 to 39 vote. It expands the states’ existing 24-hour waiting period and also includes a provision that would ban abortion coverage in the state’s to-be-created health insurance exchange mandated by the new federal health reform package. The state Senate passed the bill in April on a 26 to 5 vote. It is unclear whether Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) will sign the bill, but both chambers passed the legislation with a veto-proof majority. A Nixon spokesperson told the Associated Press, “Like all legislation that goes to the Governor, it will receive a thorough and comprehensive review,” According to the bill, the “physician who is to perform or induce the abortion or a qualified professional [must present] to the pregnant woman various new printed materials to be developed by the Department of Health and Senior Services by November 30, 2010, detailing the risks of an abortion and the physiological characteristics of an unborn child at two-week gestational increments” at least 24 hours prior to an abortion. A qualified professional must also “discuss the medical assistance and counseling resources available, advise the woman of the father’s liability for child support, and provide information about the Alternatives to Abortion Program.” Additionally, the bill requires women to have the opportunity to view an “active ultrasound” and hear “the heartbeat of the unborn child, if the heartbeat is audible.” It also requires women to be informed about fetus’ possible ability to feel pain. An abortion cannot be performed until women seeking the procedure complete and sign a checklist that states she has been fully informed of all required information.

Sources:

Missouri Senate Bill 793; Associated Press 5/14/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 4/23/10

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