Missouri Bill Introduced for Ultrasound, Better Informed Consent Before Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
February 9, 2009
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — Missouri legislators have introduced new legislation that would require an ultrasound and better informed consent prior to a woman having an abortion. Similar bills in other states have proven effective in lowering the number of abortions and Missouri lawmakers wants to reduce its numbers further.
The measure follows the latest trend that has seen 16 states approve bills allowing women considering an abortion a chance to see an ultrasound of their baby beforehand.
The provision is part of a comprehensive informed consent measure the Missouri House adopted but the Senate never took up before the end of the legislative session.
The proposal has been re-introduced in the Senate by Senator Rob Mayer of Dexter as Senate Bill 264 and in the House by Representative Bryan Pratt of Blue Springs as House Bill 434.
Joe Ortwerth of the Missouri Family Policy Council tells LifeNews.com that the two legislators are good members to rely on for promoting pro-life legislation.
"Senator Mayer is highly respected by his colleagues and has been an extraordinary friend of the pro-life cause. Representative Pratt is the Speaker Pro Tem of the House, and has used his position to provide valuable support to pro-life and pro-family efforts," he said.
Under the proposal the ultrasound offer must come 24 hours prior to the abortion and it could lower the number of abortions as statistics show as many as 80 percent or more of the women who see them in a pregnancy decide to keep their baby.
"They are confronted with the stark reality that what they are watching is a somebody, not a something. Women quickly form a natural emotional bond with their own offspring, and choose to give birth to the child," Ortwerth said.
Another section of the legislation calls for women to be given detailed information about agencies offering alternatives to abortion services such as pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes, and adoption agencies.
Women contemplating late-term abortions would also be told that their child may experience intense pain.
All of the information required to be provided to the woman will be included in printed materials or informational videos developed by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. The abortion clinic must furnish these written materials or videos to the woman 24 hours prior to the abortion.
The Missouri Family Policy Council worked with Americans United for Life, a national pro-life group that focuses on state pro-life legislation, to craft the bill.
The bills also create the crime of coercing an abortion. It makes it a crime to perform an act intended to cause a woman to seek or obtain an abortion against her will.
"Many women who arrive at abortion clinics are there because they have been pressured to obtain an abortion by a boyfriend, husband, parent, or grandparent," the pro-life advocate explained. "There have even been incidents widely reported across the country of women being threatened with the loss of jobs, scholarships, and other support if they do not abort their child."
Sam Lee of Campaign Life Missouri and Larry Weber of the Missouri Catholic Conference crafted the anti-coercion sections.
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