Missouri Attorney General Has New Pro-Life Enforcement Authority

State   Joe Ortwerth   Aug 8, 2017   |   2:49PM    Jefferson City, MO

The Missouri Legislature has acted decisively to grant new authority to the Attorney General to enforce state laws regulating abortion and abortion providers.

During its recent special session, the General Assembly enacted a sweeping pro-life bill that delegated new powers to the Attorney General to prosecute violations of state abortion laws.

Under the new law, the Attorney General is granted concurrent original jurisdiction to enforce abortion regulations along with local prosecuting attorneys and circuit attorneys.

The Attorney General could commence legal actions on his own with regard to failure to comply with state laws governing abortion facilities and persons performing abortions.

The new powers of the Attorney General would include authority to seek injunctions in state or federal court to prevent further violations of state abortion law.

Senator Andrew Koenig of St. Louis County sponsored the legislation.  “There are forces at work that would like Missouri to become ‘the wild west’ with abortion being on demand with little to no concern for safety.”

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“It is time for us to act in defense of life and the health and safety of women,”  Senator Koenig observed.

The State of Missouri has had a long history of adopting some of the strongest pro-life laws in the nation.  Missouri has been a leader in enacting ground-breaking legislation in efforts to protect preborn children and their mothers.

However, state agencies have weakly enforced these important laws, and state attorneys general have at times weakly defended those laws when they have been challenged in court.

With the election of Josh Hawley last November, Missouri has a pro-life Attorney General for the first time in 24 years.  Hawley is now in a position to see that pro-life actions of the Missouri Legislature are truly implemented.

Hawley’s views on the abortion issue are unequivocal.  “Abortion is not a right.  It is a violent act against the defenseless.  It violates every principle of morality and should be barred by American law.”

During his campaign last year, Hawley criticized state officials for “giving Planned Parenthood a sweetheart deal,” and for “failing to carry out serious inspections of Planned Parenthood facilities.”

The bill approved by the Legislature also includes language that helps bring violations of state abortion law to the attention of the attorney general and local prosecutors.

The new law includes what has been described as a whistleblower protection provision.  Every facility providing abortions is now required to adopt policies protecting employees who report or disclose information concerning violations of state or federal law governing the abortion procedure.

LifeNews.com Note:  Joe Ortwerth writes for the Missouri Family Policy Council.