When the Missouri Senate reconvenes in a special session later this month, senators will have before them SB 5, a pro-life bill they passed earlier this summer, now greatly strengthened with pro-life amendments added by the Missouri House. The Senate, therefore, has the opportunity to pass the strongest pro-life legislation in many years.
Here are some of the major provisions of House amended SB 5:
- Overturns a St. Louis “abortion sanctuary” ordinance and prohibits other municipalities from passing similar ordinances:
- Prohibits forcing religious (Catholic) schools to hire pro-abortion teachers and staff;
- Prohibits forcing landlords to rent to abortion clinics;
- Prohibits requiring abortion coverage in health insurance plans;
- Prohibits seeking to harass and disrupt the work of pregnancy resource centers.
- Only physicians licensed to practice in the state of Missouri may perform or induce abortions in an abortion facility located in Missouri; (The intent is to bar abortions by “hit and run” out-of-state abortionists.)
- Retains current 72 hour reflection period prior to an abortion, but adds requirement that abortion physician meet in person with the woman considering an abortion 72 hours prior to performing or inducing an abortion to discuss medical risks;
- Requires an abortion doctor seeking to administer medical abortions to obtain approval of a “complication plan” from the Missouri Department of Health for steps that will be taken when problems arise from administering such an abortion;
- Requires abortion facilities to maintain written protocols for managing a medical emergency and transferring patients to a hospital with a reasonable distance from the facility for further emergency care;
- Creates a Class A misdemeanor if abortion staff knowingly orders or requests medical emergency responders to deviate from their standard procedures for responding to emergencies; (For example, telling responders they must pick up patients at back of abortion facility when front entrance is more accessible.)
- Strengthens current law requirements regarding how fetal tissue from abortion is to be submitted by an abortion facility to a board eligible pathologist for examination. Also strengthens requirements for pathologists to make fetal tissue reports to the Missouri Department of Health and the abortion facility; (The intent is to verify that no fetal tissue from an abortion is being illegally sold or donated for experimentation.)
- Requires abortion facilities to develop written policies protecting employees who disclose information about possible health and safety violations of state or federal law;
- Requires Missouri Department of Health to make annual, on-site and unannounced inspections of abortion facilities;
- Grants the Missouri Attorney General the authority to bring suit against an abortion facility for violation of abortion laws even when the local prosecutor fails to act.
As this brief list of provisions illustrates, the passage of House amended SB 5 will be a historic moment for the state of Missouri, making our state once again a national leader in protecting the sanctity of all human life.
If you have not yet contacted your state senator urging support for House amended SB 5, please do so now. Click here to take action!