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Abortion in the U.S.

Proposed Missouri ballot

Governor's Task Force on Abortion

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Sponsored link.

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The ballot:

The Elliot Institute of Illinois has filed a proposed ballot with the Missouri Secretary of State that would seriously restrict abortion access. The measure would be called the "Prevention of Coerced and Unsafe Abortion Act." It would require a woman seeking an abortion to submit to an examination by a physician, psychologist, licenses social worker or registered nurse in order to determine that she was not being pressured into having the procedure. An abortion could only proceed if the woman faced "imminent death or serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment [or] ... other health risks arising directly from the pregnancy itself." There would be no exception provided for women who were the victims of rape or incest; they would be compelled to carry the pregnancy to term. 1

According to the Kansas City Star:

"... the doctor would have to document that carrying the fetus to term would be more dangerous than the combination of nearly every conceivable risk associated with abortion."

"Those risks include every 'psychological, emotional, demographic or situational' risk that has been found associated with abortion in any study published in a peer-reviewed journal. Doctors would have to determine how every such risk applied to the patient and present the patient with an evaluation of every positive and negative determination."

It would seem that this requirement would be impossible for a physician to perform.

If the woman eventually had an abortion and later regretted her decision, she would be able to sue the doctor and receive up to $10,000 for each risk that the doctor failed to include in the determination of her case.

Representative Belinda Harris, (D-Hillsboro), referred to the U.S. Supreme Court Roe v Wade decision which allows women unencumbered access to early abortions. She said:

"The state of Missouri cannot ban abortions, because federally it is an approved method of taking care of a situation. So what this little group is doing will have no effect on that."

Representative Jim Lembke, (R-Lemay) said:

"I certainly would probably support, you know, a ban on abortions in the state of Missouri. But without looking at this specifically, I haven't seen the language. [I would have] ... to all of those involved in the effort and see if this is the best strategy to get that accomplished."

Jessica Robinson, a spokeswoman for Gov. Matt Blunt, (R) commented:

"No initiative like that is on the ballot in Missouri at this time, but if that were to change, he would examine the petition. The governor believes that all [human] life is precious, and we must protect the rights of the most vulnerable."

Pamela Summers, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, believes that the measure is obviously unconstitutional; it would almost certainly be rejected in the courts. However, if appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, a constitutional challenge would face an uncertain future. She commented on the recent decision by the Supreme Court on D&X abortions:

"For the time that it is in place, women could die because we don't know what is going on with our courts so much anymore with John Roberts and Samuel Alito on the United States Supreme Court." 1

Peter Brownlie, president of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, said that the proposal appears to interfere with the way doctors practice medicine and present information to their patients:

"It looks very clearly to be a ban on abortion, with the only exception being a threat to the life of the mother. It’s a pretty extreme measure."

Paula Talley, spokesperson for the Elliot Institute said that her beliefs resulted from her religious beliefs including a fetus' right to life. She regretted having had an abortion after her husband left her. In an apparent reference to Post Abortion Syndrome, she said:

"I know abortion can damage women. It causes depression, and they become promiscuous. It causes alcoholism and leads to suicide attempts. It’s a downward spiral. That’s typical." 2

The Elliot Institute will have to collect at least 90,000 signatures on their proposal in order to place the measure on the ballot for 2008-NOV.

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The Governor's Task force on the Impact of Abortion on Women:

Governor Matt Blunt (R) has appointed a task force "... to understand and highlight the impact of abortion on women physiologically, psychologically and socially" and to report back to him their recommendations for appropriate legislation. This should be a particularly simple task, since the governor and all 14 members of the Task Force are personally opposed to abortion access. The appointees include the heads of three anti-abortion pregnancy resource centers, Missouri Nurses for Life, the Alliance for Life, Blacks for Life, Missouri Right to Life, and Missouri Family Network. Also included will be two representatives of the Center for Bioethics and Culture Missouri, an anti-abortion/anti embryonic stem cell research organization. The governor himself said at a press conference:

“I certainly would begin with the presumption that abortion has a negative impact on Missouri children, Missouri women, Missouri men, because it’s harmful to society."

This approach of using a stacked committee was used in South Dakota to produce a recommendation to ban essentially all abortions in that state. 3

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Related essays on this web site:

bulletAnti-abortion bills in various states
bulletLaws restricting abortion in the U.S. and Canada
bulletRoe v. Wade: Its basis; court philosophies; political aspects
bulletThe future battle over women's access to abortion; The impact if Roe v. Wade is overturned

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Jason Rosenbaum, "Lawmakers react to abortion ban idea: Illinois group pushes for vote in Missouri, Knight Ridder Tribune Business News, 2007-DEC-04, at: http://www.romingerlegal.com/
  2. Kit Wagar, "Abortion foes seek vote in Missouri," Kansas City Star, 2007-NOV-29, at: http://www.kansascity.com/
  3. Cynthia Cooper, "Missouri Governor Appoints Fully Stacked Task Force on Abortion," Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, 2007-DEC-03, at: http://www.rcrc.org/

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Site navigation:

 Home page > "Hot" topics > Abortion > Legal aspects > here

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Copyright © 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2007-DEC-05
Latest update: 2007-DEC-05
Author: B.A. Robinson

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