Missouri Abortion Advocates Attack Bill to Ban Forced, Coerced Abortions
by Steven Ertelt
April 28, 2008
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates in Missouri are vocally opposing a bill in the state legislature to help women avoid forced abortions or being pressured or coerced into having one. Their opposition makes the notion that abortion is a "woman’s right to choose" a hypocritical slogan.
Last week, the Missouri House approved HB 1831 on a 113-33 third reading vote and sent the measure to the Senate for its consideration.
While Missouri lawmakers approved the bill with a lopsided bipartisan vote, the abortion industry there appears strongly opposed to stopping forced abortions.
Kellie Rohrbaugh, the public affairs director for Planned Parenthood of Southwest Missouri, calls the bill "political bait" in a Springfield News-Leader letter to the editor.
She claimed "elected officials using abortion access as a political tool."
Rohrbaugh says the bill — which makes it a crime to pressure or coerce a woman into having an abortion — is supposedly a way for pro-life advocates to advance an agenda to ban abortions.
"Again we see another attempt by those backing these types of legislation to place more unnecessary burdens in the way of women and doctors, and once again, this measure does nothing to actually prevent unintended pregnancies," Rohrbaugh contends.
"Far-reaching as it is, this measure is only one piece of a larger agenda backed by groups who are working toward an all-out ban on abortion care in Missouri," she added.
Rohrbaugh promises the abortion business will spend large amounts of time and money to get members of the state Senate to oppose the bill.
Pam Fichter, the president of Missouri Right to Life, responded to the attacks on the bill from Planned Parenthood and other abortion advocates.
"Its difficult to understand how anyone could oppose legislation that allows a pregnant woman to see her babys heartbeat or to learn about her unborn childs development," she said. "And certainly no one supports the outrage of coerced abortions."
"Missouri citizens would be well served if the Missouri Senate, who will now take up this bill, supports informed choices and protection for women by passing this legislation," she said.
Rep. Robert Onder also responded to the attacks.
"This bill is designed to protect women and ensure that they are acting freely and are fully informed should they choose to have an abortion," he said.
"This, I believe, is why the bill received such strong support. I look forward to the prompt action of the Missouri Senate and the Governor to protect Missouri women," he added.
The bill 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.
The legislation also contains other sections helping pregnant women, including one that prohibits colleges and universities from revoking athletic scholarships form pregnant students.
Governor Blunt said he supports the measure and that it strengthens "the culture of life in Missouri."
We have a moral obligation to protect Missouri women and to defend the dignity of human life, Blunt said.
Innocent life is not dispensable and we must work with expectant parents to help them choose life. I commend the House for passing this legislation strengthening our states commitment to life," he added.
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.
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.
The bill also includes an ultrasound requirement allowing women a chance to see their developing unborn child before the abortion. When used in pregnancy centers the ultrasounds convince most women to keep their baby.
Missouri Right to Life 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