Missouri House Republicans are considering abortion legislation after a series of hearings that continued Wednesday.
The House Committees on Ways and Means, and Children and Families held the latest Wednesday in a series of hearings that began after the release of several videos alleging Planned Parenthood had illegally profited from the sale of fetal tissue. The Attorney General’s office reviewed Planned Parenthood’s operations in Missouri in June and concluded that the organization had not broken any laws, but Republicans say the hearings in the House and Senate have turned up other issues.
Several Republican lawmakers say they have uncovered a need for more oversight of abortions, handling of fetal remains, and of whether abortion laws are being followed.
Representative Diane Franklin (R-Camdenton) says no one at the Department of Health or the company that incinerates remains is making sure all remains is accounted for.
“[If] there is something that should be there that’s not there, we want them to be sure to flag that, and then we need someone at the Department that is paying attention that it is flagged,” said Franklin.
Another proposal is the creation of an oversight committee to focus on whether laws regarding abortions are being followed.
Representative Andrew Koenig (R-Manchester) also wants to see any facility that performs abortions or handles remains be subject to random inspections.
“We talked about a number of things. I think all of these things should be in a comprehensive package that we pass,” said Koenig.
Representative Stacey Newman (D-St. Louis) says there is no purpose to the hearings.
“Today’s hearing was fiscally irresponsible and as a senior member on the Children & Families committee, I still have no idea of the joint chairs agenda, besides this being a witch-hunt purely for political theatre,” said Newman.
One House Republican, Rick Brattin (Harrisonville), suggested a requirement that, “an aborted child have some sort of memorial to where the parents of that aborted child could go and visit.”
Brattin, who served as a Marine for six years, proposed Planned Parenthood be required to set up, “some type of memorial – like a Vietnam Wall-type. I know that sounds crazy but by state law they’re given human status.”
Koenig said such a proposal would be, “lesser of a concern,” for him.
He and Franklin, the chairs of the two committees, said at least one more hearing would be held to prepare a report with policy recommendations for the 2016 session.