The Senate Committee on Seniors, Families and Children held a public hearing this week on legislation that would ban the donation of fetal body parts, mandate annual inspections of abortion clinics and require any doctor performing abortions to have surgical privileges with a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic. SB 644 is sponsored by Senator Bob Onder (R-Lake St. Louis).
Dr. David Eisenberg, the medical director of Planned Parenthood of St. Louis and Southwest Missouri, voiced opposition to the bill, indicating abortions were safer than most out-patient procedures. Committee member Jeanne Riddle (R-Fulton) responded that abortion was certainly not safe for the unborn child.
Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D-St. Louis), also a committee member, asked witnesses supporting SB 644 why pro-life advocates did not care about other life and death issues. She cited radioactive waste threats to citizens in her district and the lack of access to health care for the poor. Mike Hoey, executive director of the the Missouri Catholic Conference, responded that the Catholic Church supports expanding access to health care for the poor but that abortion is not health care but the destroying of human life. The MCC also provided written testimony.
Support for SB 644 also came from Missouri Right to Life, Campaign Life, the Missouri Baptist Convention and several others. SB 644 is expected to be priority legislation for this legislative session. For more read this St. Louis Post-Dispatch article and this News Tribune article. Stay tuned for more.