The GOP-dominated legislature is being asked to strengthen the penalty against those who drive a minor to another state to get an abortion without permission from a parent or guardian. A Missouri House committee is considering the legislation sponsored by Rep. Tom Hurst, R-Meta.
“The one child that I thought I could have saved with this bill is dead. The grandchild I thought I could save with this bill is dead. As much as we can change laws, sometimes we can’t change hearts,” Hurst says. “This doesn’t stop the abortion. It’s just the impact of how it was handled when they come back to Missouri.”
During a Tuesday hearing about the bill, Father Richard Frank, a Catholic priest, says he supports the bill that would make the act a felony.
“I cannot understand how a parent’s permission is needed for a minor child to take an aspirin in school but not needed to have radical surgery,” he says.
Sarah Baker with the ACLU of Missouri says the measure is unconstitutional.
“We would think that it was absurd if you, for example, couldn’t travel to Kansas to get medical treatment or couldn’t travel to Illinois for mental health therapy. Those are things of the same absurdity and the same limitation that we’re applying here for a minor’s right to access an abortion,” Baker says.
“Missouri has now welcomed Uber into this state. Are we now saying that your Uber driver is expected to verify every time you go over to the Overland Park clinic in Kansas City what you are going to do at that clinic? I think it’s invasive,” Baker says.
HB 2159 is one of several abortion bills under review by the Missouri House Children and Families committee.