Missouri House Passes Bill to Define Unborn Baby as a Person and Ban Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Apr 12, 2016   |   6:10PM   |   Jefferson City, MO

A Missouri House committee passed a controversial pro-life resolution Tuesday that would recognize unborn babies as human beings in the state constitution.

The Kansas City Star reports Missouri House Joint Resolution 98 would amend the state constitution and grant the right to life to “unborn human children at every stage of biological development.” Legislators amended the resolution Tuesday to remove exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother, the report states.

Some believe the resolution would ban abortions completely in Missouri, but state Rep. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, who proposed the measure, is unsure. He previously said the resolution would lay the groundwork for laws or litigation to end abortion in the future, but it likely would not ban abortions right away because of Roe v. Wade.

“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.”

However, pro-abortion legislators on the committee spoke out against the bill Tuesday, calling it “extreme” and saying women’s lives would be in danger.

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If it passes the legislature, the resolution would go on the ballot for a vote in November. A full state House vote is unlikely because the legislative session ends soon, according to the local news report.

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.

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.