Abortion regulations in Missouri would be tightened under a bill passing the House and headed for the Senate.
HCS HB 46 & 434 , sponsored by Rep. Bryan Pratt (R-Blue Springs), does two things: it enhances Missouri’s informed consent law and creates the crime of coercing someone to have an abortion.
A similar bill died in the Senate last year, when concerns were raised that it could interfere with discussions between a parent and a pregnant daughter if the parent advocated the daughter have an abortion.
Under the bill, the physician performing the abortion must describe the abortion method and its risks, give information about the fetus and offer to show the woman a sonogram. Print or video material produced by the Department of Health on abortion must be provided to the woman. The information must be provided 24 hours prior to the abortion.
Pratt says he addressed concerns about the coercion section this year, tying coercion to other felonies. The bill states that someone commits the crime of coercion when they assault or stalk the woman. A boss could be charged with coercion if he threatens to fire a woman if she won’t have an abortion. A felony coercion charge could also be levied if someone threatens to pull a scholarship of a co-ed who refuses to have an abortion.
Pratt insists the bill would not criminalize frank conversations between a parent and daughter when the daughter faces an unplanned pregnancy.
House Majority Floor Leader, Steve Tilley (R-Perryville) says floor debate in the House might have been harsh and emotional, but in the end the House gave the measure overwhelming support. The bill passed the House on a 115-to-43 vote. It now heads to the Senate.