Senator Chris Koster knows it’s that time again. "Do you know how you know that it’s springtime in Jefferson City? We’re arguing about abortion."
The state senate has started its annual abortion legislation battle but the first skirmish is brief.
Koster, from Harrisonville, is one of the leaders of the opposition to the newest informed consent bill, a measure that says information will be furnished to a woman seeking an abortion 24 hours before the procedure that will tell her about the procedure, the development of the fetus, the pain the fetus might feel, alternatives to the abortion, and offer a chance for the woman to see an ultrasound image of the fetus and listen to its heart beat.
Dexter Senator Rob Mayer, the sponsor, says a woman cannot exercise her freedom of choice until she has been fully informed about the procedure. His bill requires the Department of Health to create the information the woman would receive. He says neither the pro-life nor the pro-choice side can be trusted to provide neutral information.
Opponents attack the bill on several fronts, noting that its definition of "threat" comes close to criminalizing all kinds of non-threatening communication, or questioning whether the language gives a 12-year old girl the right to have an abortion without parental permission.
Opponents show no lack of other issues to extend the debate. But in the first discussion, the senate floor leader shut things down after about an hour and called it a day.