More abortion legislation is being introduced in Jefferson City in the upcoming session. A proposal pre-filed by Senator Jeanie Riddle (R- Mokane) deals with a booklet the state requires to be issued to women seeking the procedure.
Riddle’s measure would compel all family planning agencies to provide the booklet to all women being referred to out of state abortion clinics.
She said “When you have an entity that is strictly looking at this as a financial monetary gain, if they are not referring them within the state of Missouri, which those printed material by law are to be handed out or at least offered, if they’re going to send them to an out of state provider, then I think those women are entitled to the same basic facts.”
The printed material the state requires to be offered is known as Missouri’s Informed Consent Booklet. It’s supplied by the state Health and Senior Services Department.
State lawmakers passed legislation in 2010 requiring the booklet be distributed to women seeking abortions in Missouri. Since then, additional laws have led all but one abortion clinic within the state to close its doors, although pending litigation could possibly overturn those laws.
Riddle sees her proposal is simply closing a loophole. Planned Parenthood, which operates the lone Missouri clinic in St. Louis, sees it much differently.
M’Evie Mead with Planned Parenthood Advocates claims the booklet itself fails to provide accurate information. “When the woman is considering an abortion, the fact that the kind of information that she gets (in the booklet) is clearly designed to shame and coerce her and make her create a different, or to make her feel shame for the decision that she makes which is best for her, it’s not a medically oriented set of counseling materials.”
The first page of the booklet includes the verbiage “The life of each human being begins at conception. Abortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being.”
Riddle says the booklet provides useful facts. “It is just giving women information about what is happening to them”.
Planned Parenthood says the booklet forces doctors to provide medically inaccurate information for political reasons. “What Missouri’s current misinformed consent process includes are medically inaccurate information that is clearly intended to shame and coerce a woman away from a certain health care decision about a safe, legal medical procedure” said Mead with Planned Parenthood Advocates.
Riddle filed a similar bill in the last legislative session which failed to gain traction.