The State Supreme Court has unanimously upheld an abortion law passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Matt Blunt in 2005. The legislation was approved during a special session of the General Assembly.
The statute prohibits any person from intentionally causing, aiding, or assisting a minor to obtain an abortion without written consent from the minor’s parent or guardian or court approval. It is aimed primarily at those who would transport a minor across a state line to help the minor obtain an abortion. The law further provides that any person subject to jurisdiction in Missouri who violates the law will be liable in civil court for damages, emotional injury, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees.
A legal challenge had been brought by Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, which argued the law violates free speech rights guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. Planned Parenthood also argued the law creates an undue burden in addition to violating the right to travel.
Peter Brownlee, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, does not view the ruling as a total loss. Brownlee says his organization believes it must have the right to counsel young people about their reproductive options, and he says that right has not been taken away as a result of this ruling.
The Supreme Court has rejected Planned Parenthood’s claims and has upheld the law.