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Mo. Lawmakers Might Not Prioritize Abortion Restrictions

December 22, 2014 — While Missouri lawmakers have already pre-filed several antiabortion-rights bills for the upcoming legislative session, the GOP-led Legislature might not prioritize abortion issues next year, the AP/St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

The eight pre-filed antiabortion-rights bills include several types of restrictions, such as stricter parental notification and consent requirements, clinic inspections, and protections for antiabortion-rights groups. According to Sam Lee, a lobbyist for Campaign Life Missouri, the clinic inspections bill (SB 33) could have the best chance of passing.

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State Senate President Pro Tempore Tom Dempsey (R) said conservative legislators would like to reduce the number of abortions in Missouri, "but we don't have a specific policy initiative this year." Legislative leaders have not identified any of the eight pre-filed bills as priorities and have said they intend to focus on education and economic issues, according to the AP/Post-Dispatch.

Lee said that he's "not sure how much [antiabortion-rights activists will] be able to get done in 2015," noting that they "had such a big year in 2014."

Three months ago, GOP lawmakers overrode a veto from Gov. Jay Nixon (D) to enact a law (HR 1307) requiring physicians to wait 72 hours after consulting with a woman about abortion before performing the procedure. According to the AP/Post-Dispatch, the GOP's supermajority has grown since last session.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Jill Schupp (D), who will become a state senator next session, also said antiabortion-rights legislation could be less prominent this year. She noted that such measures tend to be more frequently at issue during election years because candidates use them to rally voters (Ballentine, AP/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 12/21).