Missouri pro-life leaders want to be prepared for the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade this summer by passing a state constitutional amendment that confirms there is no right to abort an unborn baby.
Hopes about protecting unborn babies are growing after, earlier this week, Politico expose a leaked draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court that overturns Roe. The court has not issued its final ruling yet, but many believe the justices will overturn the 1973 abortion case.
If that happens, a 2019 Missouri pro-life law that bans abortions would go into effect. However, there is a chance that pro-abortion groups may sue to block the law anyway, Samuel Lee of Campaign Life Missouri told the Missouri Independent this week.
“It just takes four votes over there for the Missouri Supreme Court to find a right to abortion” in the state constitution, Lee said. “And then we’re back to square one. And depending on how it reads, all of our laws could be at risk — our parental consent law, our restrictions on funding for abortion.”
Lee and Republican lawmakers hope to ensure these protections for unborn babies remain in place with a constitutional amendment.
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Earlier this year, state Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, introduced a bill to amend the Missouri Constitution to state that aborting an unborn baby is not a “right,” according to the report.
“I think we should make it clear, and I think let the voters decide whether they want to make it clear that there is no right to abortion in the Missouri Constitution,” Onder said.
His bill, Senate Joint Resolution 53, would add language to the constitution stating that “nothing … shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion.” To be ratified, constitutional amendments must pass the state legislature and be approved by a majority of voters on the ballot.
The situation Onder, Lee and others are concerned about already has happened in other states. In 2018, West Virginians passed a similar state constitutional amendment after a court ruling forced state taxpayers to pay for abortions for years. Pro-lifers in Kansas and Iowa also are trying to pass constitutional amendments this year in response to pro-abortion court rulings in their states.
The Roe ruling forces states to legalize abortions without limits up to viability and allows abortions up to birth. As a result, more than 63 million unborn babies and hundreds of mothers have died in supposedly “safe, legal” abortions.
Missouri is one of 26 states that the Guttmacher Institute predicts will protect unborn babies by banning abortions if Roe is overturned. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the Mississippi abortion case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health soon.