A House Committee has heard arguments for and against a bill that would make it a crime to perform an abortion for a woman who wants it because of her unborn child’s sex or a genetic abnormality.
“Consider the facts that human beings are human beings, and whether or not they have Down’s syndrome or whether or not they are absolutely perfect as we deem ‘perfect being,’ or whether or not they are male or female should not have a basis on whether or not they live.”
McCaherty says his proposal would give a woman legal grounds if after having an abortion she decided she was persuaded into having it by a doctor.
“Right now a lady has no recourse if she is coerced or if she is pressured into having an abortion by a physician or somebody like that … so if she can prove that in court she would have some recourse.”
McCaherty says cases of such persuasion have happened in the State of New York.
Missouri Planned Parenthood lobbyist Michelle Trupiano says the legislation will infringe on the rights of women faced with difficult decisions. She shared the story of a woman in Columbia who had a wanted pregnancy and learned the child had severe complications.
“We see this throughout Missouri and throughout the country … these much wanted, much loved pregnancies that up until that time the families are overjoyed, and they’re not making these decisions lightly, that these are heartbreaking, heartbreaking decisions that they’re having to make … and for a legislature to sit up here and say, ‘We know what’s right for them,” that’s talking about government intrusion in the worst.”
Representative Chris Kelly (D-Columbia) says the bill raises a constitutional question.
“To what degree may the state enact a law which impares the right to choose an abortion based on the condition of the fetus?” He says there are two questions, “Can you do it constitutionally and the other one is if you can do it constitutionally, should you do it?”
The committee has not voted on the proposal.