by Steven Ertelt
May 21, 2007
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life groups in Missouri are concerned that a bill the state legislature is considering regarding midwives, includes language in the bill that would allow them to do abortions. Currently the state only allows licensed physicians to do them and the group say that would expand the abortion industry there.
Missouri Right to Life and the Missouri Catholic Conference told lawmakers last week about their concerns over language in HB 818, which the state House approved.
They say the measure could be interpreted as allowing any certified health professional, including nurses and midwives, to do abortions. A provision of the bill would allow any person holding "ministerial or tocological certification" to provide pregnancy-related services as well.
According to news reports, lawmakers did not realize that state Sen. John Loudon (R), who opposes abortion, had added the language to the bill until after it had passed, and they are now trying to pass a second bill that omits the language before the end of the legislative session.
Loudon said that he does not think his amendment would allow people who are not physicians to do abortions but added that he would support an amendment to clarify the language making sure that was not the case.
Some legislators are trying to fix the problem by passing a second bill that changes the midwifery provisions without allowing abortions. It could wind up having two bills go to Gov. Matt Blunt, who is pro-life on abortion, and he could veto the one allowing abortions.
Lawmakers also added a provision to a crime bill, Senate Bill 429, saying that even if another law allows non-physicians to do abortions that the criminal law supersedes and nurses and midwives are still not allowed to do them.