An overwhelming vote in the House sends a late-term abortion ban to the Senate.

“Here we are, another year and another abortion bill,” Rep. Tishaura Jones (D-St. Louis) lamented another emotionally charged abortion debate on the House floor.

This time, the House approves a ban on late-term abortions, often called partial birth abortions, on a 119-to-38 vote. HB 213 attempts a ban where past efforts have failed, the courts ruling such attempts unconstitutional. The bill bans an abortion of a viable fetus at 20 weeks, except if the mother’s life is at stake or a medical emergency can be proven. A second physician’s opinion would be required. Those found in violation would be guilty of a felony.

Rep. Susan Carlson (D-St. Louis) suggested the legislature is proving it doesn’t trust women.

“Women in Missouri have enough sense, enough compassion, enough care that this decision is theirs with their doctor,” Carlson stated during House floor debate. “This bill interferes with how their doctor can care for them and give them advice.”

Others also criticized the bill, but critics were in the vast minority.

Rep. Sandy Crawford (R-Buffalo) stated this debate isn’t about choice.

“And I would submit to you that we have no right to take that child,” Crawford told colleagues. “It’s not a choice. It is a child.”

The House Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones (R-Eureka) sponsors the legislation. Jones insisted during debate that he has crafted a constitutionally defensible bill that protects an unborn child who is viable.

“If the state loses an interest in protecting life at viability, then the state has the potential to lose itself,” according to Jones.

The bill now moves to the Senate.

AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [1:30 MP3]