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

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Apr 19, 2016   |   2:49PM   |   Jefferson City, MO

A measure that would recognize unborn babies from the moment of fertilization in the Missouri Constitution passed a second House committee on Monday.

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.”

On Monday, the House Select Committee on Social Services approved the bill, moving it to the full House for consideration, according to the News-Leader. If approved by the legislature, the measure would be placed on the ballot in November for voters’ approval.

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.”

Opponents of the bill spoke during the committee hearing on Monday, claiming it would ban abortion and certain forms of birth control and fertility treatments, according to the News-Leader. Some also called the measure unconstitutional.

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A number of other states, including Alabama and Oklahoma, also are considering similar measures to define personhood at the moment of conception. However, these measures are unlikely to become law. Because of the current political climate and the legal precedents set in the U.S. Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, courts would almost certainly strike down the measures.

Many pro-life groups believe the key to ending legalized abortion is overturning Roe v. Wade. However, 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, pro-life groups are encouraging Americans 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.