The Missouri Senate will return to Jefferson City on Monday afternoon for abortion-related special session legislation.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Kehoe speaks at the MSP bill-signing ceremony in Jefferson City on July 11, 2017 (photo courtesy of Ryan Burns at the Office of Administration)

Senate Majority Leader Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, says the full Senate will gavel-in Monday at 4 p.m.

The Missouri Senate and House have passed different versions of the abortion bill.

Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh, D-Bellefontaine Neighbors, tells Missourinet she believes the House version would run into Senate opposition.

“And I think the Senate sent them (the House) a very good bill that was a compromise between both sides of this issue,” Walsh says. “And as you know, if you pass something that nobody likes in one chamber, it’s usually good for Missourians.”

The Missouri House voted 110-38 in June to approve State Rep. Diane Franklin’s bill, which includes whistleblower and fetal tissue language.

Franklin, a Camdenton Republican, chairs the Missouri House Children and Families Committee. Franklin told the Capitol Press Corps after the House vote that her bill is important for the health and safety of women.

Walsh says the issue should go to a conference committee.

“I think it’s a very good option and it’s my hope that this bill goes to conference and then they can work it out,” says Walsh.

The Missouri House voting board on Rep. Franklin’s abortion bill on June 20, 2017 (photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at Missouri House Communications}

Majority Leader Kehoe tells Missourinet a conference committee is an option, adding that it’s up to Senate sponsor Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester.

“Certainly, pro-life issues are very important to many members in this body (the Senate),” Kehoe says. “So there’s a lot of passion and emotion. I like the issues that are in the bill, but Senator Walsh is right, the bill that we sent them over from the body was a little bit different.”

Senator Koenig tweeted Friday, in part: “I believe we need to pass the strongest pro-life bill as possible. I will not make the motion to send it to conference.”

Kehoe says the debate will happen, noting the Missouri Senate is a deliberative body.

“The Senate had a position, not everybody agreed on the position, but we developed a position, we sent that over to the House,” says Kehoe. “They obviously did what sometimes the House does, they changed it up a little bit, and so that’s what we’ll debate when we get back.”

The Senate voted 20-8 in mid-June to approve a bill overturning a St. Louis ordinance that bars discrimination based on pregnancy decisions. The Senate bill also requires annual safety inspections for abortion clinics.

Governor Eric Greitens (R) called Missouri lawmakers back for the special session. Greitens has been urging lawmakers to pass legislation to protect pregnancy resource centers and to implement health and safety standards in abortion clinics.

Democratic critics in the Missouri House want lawmakers to address infant mortality rates.

During the June House floor debate, State Rep. Joshua Peters, D-St. Louis, said his north St. Louis district has the highest infant mortality rate in Missouri.

Click here to listen to Missourinet news director Brian Hauswirth’s full seven minute interview with Senate Majority Leader Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, and Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh, D-Bellefontaine Neighbors, which was recorded on the Senate floor at the Statehouse in Jefferson City on July 14, 2017: