December 21, 2015 — Conservative legislators in Missouri have released a 2016 agenda that includes a push to increase the number of abortion restrictions in the state, the Missouri Times reports.
According to the Missouri Times, state lawmakers have pre-filed several antiabortion-rights bills in the state House and Senate.
One bill (HB 1815), proposed by state Rep. Andrew Koenig (R), would ban abortions based on the sex of a fetus or genetic anomalies. Another measure (SB 802), from state Sen. David Sater (R), would prohibit abortions sought because a fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome. Meanwhile, the Missouri Times reports another lawmaker, state Rep. Mike Moon (R) pre-filed "a vaguely worded bill [HB 1794] that seemingly implicates anyone involved in getting an abortion as subject to criminal punishments." A separate measure (HB 1714), from state Rep. Tila Hubrecht (R), would ban certain abortion procedures.
State Rep. Rocky Miller (R) pre-filed a fifth antiabortion-rights bill (HB 1370), which would require the consenting guardian of a minor seeking an abortion to provide written notification to other guardians before the procedure.
Another bill (SB 644), proposed by state Sen. Bob Onder (R), would ban fetal tissue donation -- which the Missouri Times notes does not occur within the state -- and alter language governing how pathologists report on fetal tissue. The bill also would require unannounced annual inspections of facilities where abortions are performed.
Further, the bill would require physicians who perform abortions to have surgical and admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. According to the Times, the language would replace the "more vague clinical privileges" requirement and appears to target a Planned Parenthood in Columbia. It would also make it more difficult for ambulatory surgery centers to apply for or renew licenses at facilities that do not meet every requirement.
Planned Parenthood Responds
Mary Kogut, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, said, "At this time in Missouri, abortion is one of the most restricted medical procedures ... We already have enough restrictions, and many of them don't add to the health or the safety of women."
Kogut added, "Women's reproductive freedoms are really being impinged upon. The burden is on women to travel further for care, to go through more hoops." She noted that the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have both spoken out against such restrictions (Zimpfer, Missouri Times, 12/17).