The House has given first round approval to legislation meant to allow medical workers in Missouri refuse to participate in certain procedures including abortion, human cloning and stem cell research if they have a religious or moral objection to them.
House Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka) says his bill has been tightened up from previous years to define what it means not to participate, to specify what medical professionals it would apply to and what procedures those professionals could decline to provide.
The chamber voted 116-38 to move the bill one step closer to going to the Senate where it failed last year. 10 House Democrats voted with Republicans to advance the proposal, with one Republican voting against it.
Democrats speaking against the bill said it would allow the government to interfere in the decisions of women regarding their healthcare. Representative Stacey Newman (D-St. Louis) told a colleague, “To be clear, this is just one more vagina-specific bill in an election year that is designed to hurt women.”
Jones says Newman hasn’t read the bill.
“This is not a women-only bill. This is a human kind bill, because the procedures talk about human cloning. Well, that can be men or women. Human embryonic stem cell research … men or women; humans. Human somatic cell nuclear transfer, fetal tissue research: those issues involve men and women. They involve people. They involve children yet to be here.”
One more favorable vote would send the legislation to the Senate.