‘What kind of hypocrite would I be to not have a bill that is 100% pro-life?’…
(Jack Suntrup, St. Louis Post-Dispatch) Drawing jeers from abortion rights activists seated in the Missouri House, lawmakers on Friday approved a sweeping piece of anti-abortion legislation, a bill that would ban most abortions in the state of Missouri.
The final vote was 110-44, and the proposal now heads to Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, who is expected to sign the measure.
“Every single right we have is only possible for each one of us if we have the right to life,” said Rep. Sara Walsh, R-Ashland.
The proposal is designed to trigger a court challenge that the GOP sees as a way of overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion legal nationwide.
The bill bans abortions in the state of Missouri at eight weeks of pregnancy, except when the life of the mother is threatened. There are no exceptions for rape, incest or human trafficking.
“If we are in fact pro-life, what kind of hypocrite would I be to not have a bill that is 100% pro-life?” asked Rep. Adam Schnelting, R-St. Charles, one of the main backers of the proposal.
He said the purpose of the bill is to “optimize” life — his rationale for including exemptions in cases where the life of the mother is in jeopardy.
It also includes a provision to ban a woman from aborting a fetus that might have Down syndrome, as well as a two-parent notification requirement that the Senate weakened earlier this week.
The legislation says anyone “who knowingly performs or induces an abortion” in cases that are not exempted by the legislation would be guilty of a Class B felony, which carries a minimum five-year prison sentence.
If the Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade, “in whole or in part,” the legislation states that all abortions would be made illegal except in cases of a medical emergency.
The bill drew condemnation from Democrats, who control less than one-third of the state’s House seats.
“This gives more rights to the rapists than it does the mother,” said Rep. Doug Beck, D-south St. Louis County. “Perpetrators of incest would have more rights.
“This law is barbaric. We should rethink this,” he said.
Rep. Rocky Miller, R-Lake Ozark, said that he played a role in an abortion when he was a young man.
“I did not know what I was doing,” Miller said. He said he vote for the anti-abortion measure.
Rep. Barbara Washington, D-Kansas City, said Missouri was not a pro-life state as long as children lose Medicaid coverage, or receive free and reduced lunch.
“We support the death penalty in this state,” she said. “That is anti-life.”
As a vote on the abortion bill grew closer, dozens of activists started chanting from the chamber gallery.
“When you lie, people die,” they shouted as doormen cleared the activists from the gallery. “Shame on you!”
©2019 St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.