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Mo. House Gives Preliminary Approval To Medication Abortion Restrictions

Mo. House Gives Preliminary Approval To Medication Abortion Restrictions

April 19, 2013 — The Missouri House this week approved a bill (HB 400) that would impose additional requirements on the provision of medication abortions, the Missouri Times reports.

The legislation -- sponsored by state Rep. Jeanie Riddle (R) -- would require medication abortion drugs, which are typically taken in two doses about 24 hours apart, to be administered in the physical presence of the prescribing physician. The measure also would require the physician to keep "detailed records" of any follow-up appointments. The bill states doctors should make every effort to schedule a follow-up appointment within 12 to 18 days to ensure the woman is no longer pregnant.

Under normal standards of care for medication abortions, women take the first drug in the regimen at a health care provider's office and take the second drug at home. Women are encouraged to return for a follow-up appointment seven to 14 days after taking the second drug.

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Riddle said the bill is "about a woman's health and safety" and is "not about who will or who will not have an abortion."

However, opponents argued that the measure could prevent women from accessing care, especially if they live in rural areas (Reischman, Missouri Times, 4/18).

Michelle Trupiano, statewide manager of government affairs for Planned Parenthood affiliates in Missouri, said the measure would be "extremely burdensome" because it would require women seeking medication abortions to make an extra trip to the doctor's office. "This bill is about politics and about restricting access to abortion and has nothing to do with women's health and safety," Trupiano said (AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 4/17).