New Legislation in Missouri Would Define Unborn Baby as a Person and Ban Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 30, 2016   |   5:52PM   |   Jefferson City, MO

Missouri legislators considered a measure on Tuesday that would recognize unborn babies as human beings in the state constitution.

The News-Leader reports state Rep. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, proposed the joint resolution that would give unborn babies the right to life in Missouri and protect them from abortion through an amendment to the state constitution. If passed, the resolution would go on the ballot for a vote in November.

“As a former embryo myself, I want that protection for all embryos, present and future,” Moon said, according to the Associated Press. He added his goal is to “set a foundation in the [state] Constitution that protects the health of women and unborn children.”

When asked about the effect of the measure, Moon said it likely would not ban abortions right away in Missouri because of Roe v. Wade, but it would lay the groundwork for laws or litigation to end abortion in the future.

A House panel heard arguments for and against the measure Tuesday but did not vote on it.

Pro-life advocate Rebecca Kiessling, a Michigan attorney, testified in favor of the bill, according to the local news report. Kiessling was born after her mother was raped, and today she works to help society recognize that babies conceived in rape also deserve a right to life.

Kiessling told the panel on Tuesday that she owes her life to legislators who prohibited abortions before the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the bans in Roe v. Wade.

Abortion advocates also spoke up during the meeting, calling the ballot measure “extreme.” ACLU Missouri attorney Sarah Rossi said the measure is unconstitutional.

“At every stage of the process, at some point (such laws are) either considered by the state legislature or the voters or the courts as unconstitutional and in direct conflict with the U.S. Constitution and (U.S.) Supreme Court precedent,” Rossi told legislators.

A number of other states, including Alabama and Oklahoma are considering similar measures to ban abortion altogether. However, these measures are highly unlikely to become law. Because of the current political climate and the precedents set in the U.S. Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, courts would almost certainly strike down the measures.

The Supreme Court has ruled on personhood amendments previously and indicated they amount to a statement of position on behalf of the state and are not able to ban abortions in and of themselves. In 2012, the Oklahoma Supreme Court also struck down a similar personhood bill as unconstitutional.

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The key to ending legalized abortion is overturning Roe v. Wade, and the current Supreme Court justices are highly unlikely to do so, especially after the unexpected death of pro-life Justice Antonin Scalia. Three of the justices, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and John Roberts, likely would vote to overturn Roe and return abortion laws back to the authority of the states; but five of the other justices almost certainly would not. Scalia’s seat on the high court remains empty. Pro-abortion President Barack Obama recently nominated Merrick Garland to the high court, but pro-lifers believe he is pro-abortion and oppose his nomination.

To overturn Roe and make abortion illegal again, Americans need to elect a pro-life president and U.S. Senators who will put pro-life judges on the high court. This would pave the way for the reversal of Roe and a return to a country that protects every human life.