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Mo. Sen. Introduces Bill Banning Abortions for Fetal Development Diagnoses

December 15, 2015 — A Missouri state senator on Thursday introduced a bill (SB 802) that would prohibit abortions sought because a fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

State lawmakers pre-filed at least three other bills targeting abortion rights since Dec. 1. According to the Post-Dispatch, Dec. 1 was the first day state lawmakers could propose bills for the 2016 legislative session, which begins on Jan. 6.

Bill Details

The bill, proposed by state Sen. David Sater (R), would require physicians after performing an abortion to certify that they did not know the woman was seeking abortion care because of a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome. Physicians who violate the ban could serve up to one year in prison and pay a fine of up to $1,000.

In proposing the measure, Sater cited a similar ban (HB 1305) in North Dakota and comparable proposals considered in other states (Stuckey, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 12/11).

Separately, state Rep. Stacey Newman (D) and state Sen. Jill Schupp (D) criticized the measure. "It's no one else's business in terms of medical advice that you would have or decisions that you and your partner would need to make getting a diagnosis," Newman said, adding, "A genetic disorder that has been diagnosed is traumatic enough without someone else interfering and putting another burden on that woman's legal decision" (AP/Columbia Daily Tribune, 12/13). Schupp stated, "I think what we're going to see is a lot of anti-abortion and anti-choice bills based on the phony anti-Planned Parenthood videos that we saw ... I think this is another attempt on the part of anti-choice legislators to put their agenda forward to end a woman's right to choose" (Missourinet, 12/14).