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Ambitious Pro-Life Bill Moving Through Missouri Senate

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11-Week Old Fetus' Foot

The Missouri House passed HB 126, also known as “Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act,” by a vote of 117 to 39 on Wednesday, Feb. 27. The bill was passed by all house republicans and three democrats. HB 126 was sponsored in the house by Missouri Representative Nick Schrorer (R-107, O’Fallon).

Senator Andrew Koenig (R-15, St. Louis County), is the Senate sponsor. The Senate approved 4-1 moving HB 126 to committee on Wednesday, April 10.

HB 126 was reported Do Pass out of the Senate Health and Pensions Committee on Thursday, April 18. SCS HB 126 has been placed on the senate formal calendar to be perfected on the floor of the Senate. 

“Even if this bill saves one child from abortion, and they have a chance to grow up and live in this state, it will all be worth it,” Sen. Schrorer said.

The bill started out as the “Heartbeat Bill,” banning abortion at eight weeks gestation and later, when a heartbeat can be detected, but it grew in scope after Virginia, New York, and Illinois removed all barriers for late-term abortions in recent months.

“We know this will be challenged, so we wanted to make it a very strong bill,” Rep. Schrorer said. “We looked at all the other legislation across the United States and we focused on case law and how they were challenged and thrown out. This is where we came up with the universal severance clause.” HB 126 is a team effort and has multiple provisions. If a plaintiff goes to court over the Roe v Wade trigger bill, they would have to go after each piece of HB 126 separately, as each part is not dependent on the other. 

'Right to Life of the Unborn Child Act' - Banning Abortion Outright

Missouri Representative Adam Schnelting R-104, St. Charles, added an amendment that would enact the “Right to Life of the Unborn Child Act” which is a "trigger ban" on all abortions in Missouri. This ban would be contingent upon any one of the following occurring at the federal level: the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the adoption of a Human Life Constitutional Amendment, or the enactment of a federal Human Life Bill in which Congress enacts a law that has the effect of restoring or granting to the state of Missouri the authority to regulate abortion in this way.

The Right to Life of the Unborn Child Act recognizes that "God is the author of life and that Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution of Missouri provides that all persons have a natural right to life." The amendment further declares that Missouri is a “sanctuary of life” that protects pregnant women and their unborn children.

'Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act' - Provisions

HB 126 challenges Roe v. Wade with a ban on abortion at eight weeks gestation and later, which is typically when a heartbeat can be detected. Missouri Representative Jeff Coleman (R-32, Grain Valley) added the heartbeat amendment. Representative John Black (R-137) added the only exception to the ban, and that is in the case of medical emergencies.

Missouri House Representative Jeff Shawan (R-153) included the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” language, which bans abortion at 20 weeks when unborn children are capable of feeling pain. This language was in effect in 16 other states (at the time HB 126 passed). 

Also included in the bill, is a requirement that the second custodial parent be notified when a minor is seeking an abortion. Rocky Miller (R-124, Lake Ozark) added this amendment because he believes that parents have the right to know about medical procedures performed on their children. Missouri currently has a one-parent consent requirement with a judicial bypass option. Miller has been attempting to add this provision to state law for years.

Missouri Representative Shamed Dogan (R-98, Ballwin) added an amendment that would ban abortions for race, gender or a Down Syndrome diagnosis. Missouri Representative Hannah Kelly added an amendment that increases the medical malpractice insurance requirements for those performing or inducing abortions, to bring it in line with medical standards for other surgical procedures. 

Missouri Representative Sonya Anderson (R-131, Springfield) added an amendment which obligates abortion facilities and family planning agencies to provide Missouri’s printed informed consent information to a woman, if they refer the woman to an out-of-state abortion facility.

“We encourage anyone who is supportive of the 'Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act' to contact their Senator at senate.mo.gov to be sure it gets brought up for debate, perfected, read for the third time and moved to the House before the end of the session on Friday, May 17, so that it can be signed by Governor Mike Parson,” Schrorer said. If Gov. Parson signs the law, it will go into effect on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019.

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