Missouri Senate passes bill restricting most late-term abortions

Just weeks after the Missouri House of Representatives passed legislation restricting late-term abortions, the state Senate passed a similar bill that would require doctors to determine a fetus’s viability if a woman wants to get an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Per the bill, doctors would have to get a second opinion from another physician before performing an abortion on a viable fetus.

The bill passed out of the Senate by a vote of 27-5 with no floor debate.

The bill’s sponsor, President Pro Tem Rob Mayer, R-Dexter, has been working on late-term abortion legislation for years.

“We are very pleased it was third read and passed out of the Senate,” he said. “It makes sure, in most cases, viable children are saved from abortion.”

Opponents of the bill, such as Sen. Jolie Justus, D-Jackson County, said this legislation is a waste of time because usually abortions after 20 weeks typically are not done on viable fetuses.

“This bill affects abortions that take place after 20 weeks. In 2009, there were 63 of those abortions in the state of Missouri. Every one of those abortions was on a non-viable fetus,” she said.

Justus said lawmakers should not interfere with a family’s decision to carry to term a fetus older than 20 weeks with a fatal abnormality.

“What [legislators] are doing is basically interfering with the practice of medicine by passing this bill, because this is a decision doctors should be making with their families, and we should not be interfering with that here in the legislature,” she said.

Under the bill, doctors would be guilty of a Class C felony if they perform a late-term abortion without seeking a second doctor’s opinion on the fetus’s viability.

On the same day, the House passed and sent to the Senate a measure that would allow a pharmacy to refuse to sell some types of so-called “morning after” pills, including RU-486 and Plan B, designed to prevent a pregnancy.

– Missouri Digital News