Missouri State Senate Passes Expanded Abortion Bill
The Missouri state Senate passed a bill Thursday on a 26 to 5 vote to expand upon their existing abortion restrictions such as a 24-hour waiting period prior to the procedure. The bill includes a provision that would ban abortion coverage in the state's to-be-created health insurance exchange mandated by the new federal health reform package. The bill (SB 793) now moves to the state House for further debate, reported CBS.
According to the bill, the "physician who is to perform or induce the abortion or a qualified professional [must present] to the pregnant woman various new printed materials to be developed by the Department of Health and Senior Services by November 30, 2010, detailing the risks of an abortion and the physiological characteristics of an unborn child at two-week gestational increments" at least 24 hours prior to an abortion. A qualified professional must also "discuss the medical assistance and counseling resources available, advise the woman of the father's liability for child support, and provide information about the Alternatives to Abortion Program."
Additionally, the bill requires women to have the opportunity to view an "active ultrasound" and hear "the heartbeat of the unborn child, if the heartbeat is audible." It also requires women to be informed about fetus' possible ability to feel pain. An abortion cannot be performed until women seeking the procedure complete and sign a checklist that states she has been fully informed of all required information.
According to ABC, a separate bill in the state House criminalizes the coercion of abortion and requires medical professionals to report to prosecutors when teenagers seek out the procedure.
A third bill, introduced in the state Senate last month, would require doctors to ask women seeking abortion services about their reasons for seeking the procedure. Women would not be required to respond to the question. State Senator Tom Dempsey (R), the bill's sponsor, argues that the information would help the government better understand women's reasons for abortion, according to Missouri Net.