Missouri Gov. Nixon Lets Late-Term Abortion Ban Become Law

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 14, 2011   |   3:25PM   |   Jefferson City, MO

Missouri Gov, Jay Nixon, who supports legalized abortion, let a ban on late-term abortions become law today without either signing the bill or issuing a veto of it — likely because the legislature approved it on a wide margin.

The ban would limit late-term abortions to instances when the mother’s life is in danger or when continuation of the pregnancy would result in significant health risks to the mother.  The legislation would essentially put an end to post-viability abortions performed for reasons of “mental health” or”emotional distress.”

The proposed statute would impose major criminal penalties on doctors who perform illegal late-term abortions.  Doctors who violate the law would face jail time, hefty fines, and the loss of their license to practice medicine.

Nixon released a statement on House Bill 213 and SB 65 saying he would allow the bill specifying that no abortion of a viable, unborn child can be performed to become law. House Bill 213 and Senate Bill 65 will be allowed to take effect pursuant to Article III, Section 31 of the Missouri Constitution.

“This legislation was approved by an overwhelming, bi-partisan majority in both houses,” Gov. Nixon said. “Although people have differing views on this issue, it’s important that we work together to provide accurate health information, promote personal responsibility, protect women’s health, and improve foster care, adoption and child protection services.”

Joe Ortwerth, the executive director for the Missouri Family Policy Council, which pushed for the pro-life legislation, talked with LifeNews.com about it becoming law.

“Healthy viable preborn children in Missouri will no longer be vulnerable to the beastly practice of late-term abortion.  This new law serves notice to doctors who specialize in this barbaric business:  Destroy the lives of innocent viable unborn children, and your days in the operating room are over,” he said.

“We commend Governor Nixon for respecting the pro-life sentiments of the citizens of Missouri and allowing these life-saving bills to become law,” Oertwerth added. “We salute the members of the Missouri Legislature for their courageous action to protect children from the brutal behavior of sleazy late-term abortionists.  Thanks to their efforts, Missouri now has a constitutionally defensible law that puts an end to this repugnant practice.”

Pam Fichter, president of Missouri Right to Life, also commented on the decision.

“During the 2011 Legislative Session, the Missouri Senate and House each took up and passed their respective bills banning late-term abortions after 20 weeks gestation except when continuation of the pregnancy will create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant mother,” she explained. “Today, as he did on the 2010 pro-life legislation, Governor Nixon allowed this legislation to become law.  Per the Missouri Constitution, Governor Nixon’s decision to neither veto nor sign HB 213 and SB 65 is a decision to allow these bills to go into effect.”

“Because of Governor Nixon’s decision, Missouri law now protects babies in their last trimester before birth from the slaughter of abortion.  This decision saves lives and protects women from the risks of a late-term abortion.  Missouri Right to Life has worked hard for years to find ways to protect innocent human lives and women in crisis pregnancies,” Fichter added. “While we are pleased to see the steps taken in HB 213 and SB 65, we still have much to do to restore the inalienable right to life recognized by our founders.”

Enactment of the law would prevent the establishment of abortion clinics in Missouri which market late-term abortion procedures.  Kansas and Nebraska have been home to notorious assembly-line late-term abortionists.  Numerous states are passing late-term abortion bans, and without such a law on the books, Missouri becomes a more attractive place to set up a late-term abortion business.

Last year, Nixon chose to avoid a potential veto override of the ultrasound informed consent bill by allowing the bill to become law without his signature.