Missouri State Senate May Move Forward With Bill to Help Stop Forced Abortions
by Steven Ertelt
May 12, 2009
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — The Missouri state Senate may soon move ahead with a bill that would help stop forced and coerced abortions after a stalemate following House approval of the bill. The Missouri House voted 115 to 43 for HB 46 and HB 434 in March, but the Senate, as was the case last year, stalled on the bill.
Now, Sen. Charlie Shields has put together a group of senators working on a compromise version of the bill that would win the support of pro-life lawmakers and also pro-abortion Democrats who have been threatening to filibuster the legislation.
According to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report, the potential compromise would remove the actual ban on forced abortions — which has, amazingly, drawn opposition from abortion advocates.
Instead, the measure would include information telling women that they can’t be pressured or forced into having an abortion in the list of information they receive under the Missouri informed consent statute. That’s the section allowing them to receive information on abortion’s risks and alternatives.
The other option for the Senate is trying to gather enough votes to stop a filibuster and approve the House-passed measure without any changes and Sen. Rob Mayer, a Republican, is reportedly supporting that option since he sponsored the Senate version of the bill.
In an email to LifeNews.com, Missourians United for Life called on the Senate to approve the House bills or the existing Senate version of the ban on forced and coerced abortions, SB 264.
Missourians has shown, time and again, that they are pro-life and that they expect their legislature to pass pro-life bills and for the governor to sign those bills into law," MUL president Ed Martin told LifeNews.com.
This week, elected officials – in both the House and Senate – must do the peoples work and pass the commons sense legislation that requires informed consent for women seeking abortion and that would stop the terrible practice of coerced abortion. If pro-abortion members filibuster the bill, legislators must be ready to move ahead in any means necessary," Martin explained.
Martin said Governor Jay Nixon has not been faced with pro-life legislation during his term as governor and he hopes Nixon is required to weigh in on the forced abortion ban with a signature or veto.
Pam Fichter, the president of Missouri Right to Life, has also been very supportive of the forced abortion ban and said the House bills also allow women considering an abortion to see an ultrasound of their unborn child prior to making the life and death decision.
"This legislation ensures that a woman considering an abortion is offered the opportunity to view an ultrasound," she said.
The bills would also ensure "she is given information about the development of her unborn baby and that she understands that no one can force, threaten or coerce her into having an abortion."
"She will also be given information on alternatives to abortion," Fichter added.
House Bill 434 makes it a further crime to engage in domestic violence or harassment to force a woman into having an abortion.
Anyone found guilty would face varying degrees of criminal penalties depending on the act the defendant engaged in, ranging from assault to stalking to threats against the pregnant mother.
The bill also finds abortion practitioners guilty of a class C felony if they engage in an abortion on a woman they know to have been pressured into having an abortion. The idea is to get abortion centers to engage in better screening to help such women find abortion alternatives.
Last year, the state House approved a similar bill on a 113-33 third reading vote.
At the time, Missouri Right to Life told LifeNews.com the anti-coercion bill was 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?"
Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From LifeNews.com
Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report Receive a free daily email report from LifeNews.com with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.