by Steven Ertelt
April 16, 2008
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — The Missouri House has approved a bill that would ban pressuring or forcing a woman to have an abortion. The legislation also contains other sections helping pregnant women, including one that prohibits colleges and universities from revoking athletic scholarships form pregnant students.
The legislation received approval on a second reading vote by a strongly bipartisan 108-33 vote and it needs one more vote on third reading before it will be sent to the Senate for consideration.
HB 1831 makes it a crime to pressure or coerce a woman into having an abortion and anyone found guilty of doing so would receive a maximum of five years in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Anyone who uses force or the threat of force to pressure a woman to have an abortion could face more serious punishments because of their actions.
The bill also would potentially put abortion practitioners in prison for as much as seven years if they do an abortion on a woman who has been coerced into having one.
Abortion centers would also be required to post signs indicating that numerous public and private groups exist that provide women with real, tangible help during a pregnancy situation.
During the debate on the bill, AP indicates legislators discussed an amendment for an exception to save the mother’s life and talked about cases of rape or incest.
Rep. Bob Onder, the sponsor of the measure, defended accusations from pro-abortion lawmakers about his motives and said the only objective was to make sure abortions are "fully informed and uncoerced."
Missouri Right to Life supports the bill and told LifeNews.com last month that it is needed because of a recent case of a forced abortion.
According to the group, a 16 year-old girl was the victim of an attempted coerced abortion by her mother and aunt.
The three were at the Planned Parenthood abortion center when the teen apparently called police by dialing 911 on her cell phone.
"The police went into the facility and arrested the aunt. The mother then realized that it wasn’t so simple to force her will upon her daughter," the group said.
"How many more times might this be happening across the state of Missouri?" Missouri Right to Life officials wondered.
The section on helping college students is important because of reports of students at Clemson University having abortions to save their scholarships after they became pregnant.
The measure comes at a time when a group dedicating to stopping forced abortions has floated a statewide ballot amendment that could appear before voters in November.
Related web sites:
Missouri Right to Life – https://www.missourilife.org