A Missouri super majority just sent a pro-life bill to the desk of the Governor. Here is the breakdown of this bill where I will only share the changes that are being made as to avoid further confusion. Again, the following are just the changes that are being made.

HB 126 is “To repeal sections 135.630, 188.010, 188.015, 188.027, 188.028, 188.043, and 188.052, RSMo, and to enact in lieu thereof seventeen new sections relating to abortion, with penalty provisions, a contingent effective date for a certain section, and an emergency clause for a certain section.”

Section A (Lines 1-106)

This section begins with noting which sections of the previous law are repealed and giving new numbers to the new language. It also clarifies the following definitions that will be used in this section:

  • “Contribution”: any donation of cash, bonds, stock, or real property or other marketable securities

  • “Director”: the Department of Social Services director

  • “Pregnancy Resource Center”: a nonresidential facility that provides assistance to women and families with crisis or unplanned pregnancies by offering “pregnancy testing, counseling, emotional and material support, and other services or by offering services as described under subsection 188.325, to encourage and assist such women and families in carrying their pregnancies to term; and

    • Where childbirths are not performed; and

    • Which doesn’t perform abortions; and

    • Provides direct client services instead of just telehealth services; and

    • Provides its services at no cost to clients; and

    • Medical services are performed in accordance to Missouri statute;

Then continues into tax related information.

Section 188.010 (starts on line 2, page 4 and ends on 33, page 5)

This section determines that all humans have a right to life and the intention of this general assembly is to:

  • Defend the right to life of all humans, born and unborn

  • Declare that the state is a “sanctuary of life” that shall protect women and their unborn children

Section 188.017 (lines 1-13, page 6)

  1. Titles this section and says it may be cited as “Right to Life of the Unborn Child Act.”

  2. No abortion shall be performed except in cases of medical emergency. Anyone who knowingly performs an abortion or induces an abortion shall be charged with a Class B felony as well as suspension of their medical license; however, the woman receiving the abortion will not be charged.

  3. The defendant will have the burden of persuasion in court.

Section 188.018 (lines 1-11, page 6)

This section essentially states that if the previous definitions of life and abortion are seen as unconstitutional, they have following sections of the bill that would then come into law. To make it simpler: if this first section is found unconstitutional, the next section would become law. If the next section gets found to be unconstitutional, then the following section will become law. You will catch on the more the bill is explained but they are essentially preparing for lawsuits.

Section 188.026

  • This section shall be titled “Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act”

  • States that life begins at conception and that life has began at conception by law in Missouri since 1883.

  • The first prohibition of abortion was in 1825 and since then, the repeal and replacements of abortion have determined the distinctions with respect to penalties in regards to performing or inducing abortions; however, the child has always been protected since conception.

  • In 1972, the Missouri Supreme Court determined that all unborn children have the qualities and attributes of adult human persons differing only in age and maturity.

  • In Webster vs. Reproductive Health Services (1989), the Supreme Court stated: “We think the extent to which the preamble’s language might be used to interpret other state statutes or regulations is something that only the courts of Missouri can definitively decide. State law has offered protections to unborn children in tort and probate law”. Missouri courts construed and have consistently found that an unborn child is a person for the purposes of Missouri’s homicide and assault laws when the unborn child’s mother was assaulted or killed by another person. This law has even been found to include the unborn child even before the eight week gestational mark.

  • Mentions the emphasis of a heartbeat and that a heartbeat is a sign of life at every stage of human existence. During the fifth week of development, the child’s heart begins to beat and circulates blood flow,

  • Mentions that the heart can be visually detected as early as six to eight weeks gestational age and can be heard through a handheld Doppler fetal heart rate device at about twelve weeks.

  • States that a pregnancy can be confirmed through the detection of a heartbeat while the absence of a heartbeat can indicate death of the unborn child if this child should have reached the time of development when a heartbeat should be able to be detected.

  • Mentions the average heart rate of the baby and how that determines the health of the baby.

  • Mentions that the Supreme Court recognized that physicians and scientists focused more on conception, live birth, and viability as points that could define life but with the advancements of science, physicians and scientists now focus on other markers like fetal heartbeat, brain development, viability, and ability to experience pain.

  • Reiterates the previous point but references another court case.

  • States that miscarriages are significantly less likely after a fetal heartbeat has been confirmed. It states that the detection of a fetal heartbeat means that the baby is likely sto survive birth.

  • Still talking about the meaning of a fetal heartbeat and how important it is.

  • Goes into the development of the placenta and what that means for the health of the baby.

  • States when brain development begins and says that is normally detected at eight weeks.

  • States that Missouri law identifies the presence of circulation, respiration, and brain function as an indicia of life, as the presence of these things indicates that a person is not legally dead, but legally alive.

  • States that unborn children at eight weeks gestational age show reflex responses to touch.

  • States that the peripheral cutaneous sensory receptors which are what send pain signals to our brains appear at about seven to eight weeks and continue to spread throughout their body until about sixteen weeks.

  • Continues to state facts about pain receptors within the child’s body during development.

  • States that blood flow within a baby at a gestational age of sixteen weeks is the same as a born child and born adult.

  • States that a sixteen weeks gestational age, pain receptors are connecting with brain.

  • States that babies at the age of gestational age of sixteen weeks are given anesthesia when having an in utero procedure performed on them.

  • A quote from a textbook on fetal development.

  • Defines what a D&E abortion is.

  • Establishes what the Supreme Court has said about D&E abortions.

  • States Missouri’s ban on partial birth abortions stating that the constitutional ban on these abortions are at 14 weeks or later.

  • States that the Supreme Court says that no one under the age of 18 may receive the death penalty because it is “cruel and unusual” and therefore violates the Eighth and Fourteenth amendments.

  • States that the Supreme Court has ruled that “disgusting practices” like disemboweling and quartering is considered cruel and unusual.

  • States that evolving standards of decency would dictate that Missouri should prohibit the D&E abortion procedure at fourteen weeks or later.

  • Continues on about the child death penalty being illegal, even in international law.

  • States that in majority of countries worldwide, most abortions are illegal after 12 weeks.

  • States that the majority of Americans have believed that abortion should be illegal in the second and third trimesters.

  • States that the later an abortion is performed, the greater the risk is for the mother.

  • Lists the long-term physical and psychological effects of abortion on women.

  • States that a prohibition on performing abortions after eight weeks gestational age with an exemption for medical emergencies does not amount to a substantial obstacle to a large fraction of women looking to obtain an abortion.

  • States that the Supreme Court even admitted that there might be close to a four week error in estimating gestational age which could mean that an alleged eight week old fetus is actually twelve weeks.

Section 3 (lines 231-238, page 13)

This section is about the Constitution’s Article VI, Clause 2.

Section 4 (lines 239-246, page 13)

This section is about the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and that Missouri does have an interest in saving life.

Section 5 (lines 247-260)

This section says that Missouri’s interest include

  • Protecting unborn children throughout pregnancy

  • Encouraging childbirth instead of abortion

  • Ensuring respect for all human life from conception to natural death

  • Protecting an unborn child from the pain of an abortion method that would cause pain to a child as they are being aborted

  • Preserving the integrity of both the medical field and society from the insensitivity of the murder of human life.

  • Ending the incongruities within the law on what life is (like how babies may be aborted and aren’t seen as humans, yet if you kill a mother who is pregnant, the baby is seen as a separate human life)

  • Reducing the risks of women being harmed during abortions performed later in the pregnancy

Section 188.027

Line 86, page 16 states that printed materials provided by the place where an abortion will be performed shall include the information on the possibility of the abortion causing pain to the unborn baby. This information shall include but is not limited to:

  • Unborn children as early as eight weeks gestational age start to show movement and show reflex responses to touch

  • The area around the mouth responds to touch around seven to eight weeks, the palms at about ten and a half weeks, on the abdominal walls at fifteen weeks, and all over his or her body at sixteen weeks.

  • Pain receptors begin developing at around seven to eight weeks.

  • At sixteen weeks, the pain receptors can send signals to the cortex.

  • Babies that are sixteen weeks or older gestational age are provided anesthesia when there is a procedure performed in utero.

  • A description of the actual steps that will happen during the abortion and state at which steps the abortion may be painful for the unborn child.

Section 188.028

Beginning on line 1-2, page 21 states that except for in cases of medical emergencies, no person shall perform or induce an abortion on a woman under the age of 18 except

  • The physician performing the abortion has gotten the informed written consent of the minor and one parent or guardian and the consenting parent has notified any other parent of guardian in writing prior to securing the written consent of the minor and one parent or guardian. Notice shall not be required for any parent:

    • Who has been found guilty of any offense against the person, relating to sexual assault, relating to prostitution, relating to offenses against the family, or related to pornography and related offenses, if a child was the victim

    • Who has been found guilty of any offense in any other state or foreign country or under federal federal, tribal, or military jurisdiction if a child was a victim

    • Who is listed on the sexual offender registry

    • Against whom an order of protection has been issued

    • Whose custodial, parental, or guardianship rights have been terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction, or

    • Whose whereabouts are unknown are reasonable injury, who is a fugitive from justice, who is habitually in an intoxicated or drugged condition, or who has been declared mentally incompetent or incapacitated by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Section 188.033 lines 2-13, page 23

This section states that whenever an abortion facility or family planning agency located within Missouri gives the information of an abortion agency outside of the state to perform an abortion that is illegal in state must provide the such woman the printed materials that are already required to be given to her. This information must be given to her on the same day that she is given the information of another facility.

Section 188.038 states that the state finds that (beginning on line 2, page 23 and ending on page :

  • Removing vestiges of any past bias or discrimination against pregnant women, their partners, and their family members, including their unborn children, is an important task for those in the legal, medical, social services, and human services professions;

  • Ending any current bias or discrimination against pregnant woman, their partners, and their family members, including their unborn children, is a legitimate purpose of the government in order to guarantee that everyone is given the right to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”

  • The historical relationship of bias or discrimination used by some family planning agencies programs and policies towards poor or minority populations

  • Among Missouri residents, the rate of African American women who have had abortions are significantly higher by about three times than that of white women.

  • Performing an abortion or inducing an abortion because of the sex of the unborn child is repugnant to the equality of females and males and furthers a mindset of female inferiority

  • Government has a legitimate interest in preventing the abortion of unborn children with Down Syndrome because of the disability discrimination and the victimization of the disabled child at his or her most vulnerable age.

Lines 2-32, page 24

This section states that no person shall perform or induce an abortion if the person knows that the woman is seeking the abortion solely because of a prenatal diagnosis, test, or screening indicating Down Syndrome or the potential of Down Syndrome in the unborn child.

Lines 33-34, page 24

This section states that no person shall perform or induce an abortion if the person knows that the woman is seeking an abortion solely based on the gender of the unborn child.

Lines 35-37, page 24

This section states that any physician or other person to perform an abortion or to induce an abortion prohibited by this section shall be subjected to all civil penalties listened within this law. (The text beneath this section makes clear what the penalties would be).

Section 188.044 (Lines 1-24, page 25)

Subsection 1 states that if a drug or chemical or combination of the two, used to induce an abortion carries a warning that it may cause birth defects, disability, or other injury to the child who survives an abortion, then such person shall carry tail insurance with coverage amounts of at least one million dollars per occurrence and three million dollars in annual aggregate for personal injury to or death of a child who survives such abortion

Subsection 2 defines what tail insurance means.

Subsection 3 states that no abortion facility or hospital shall employ or engage in the services of a person to induce an abortion on another by using any drug or chemical that may cause birth defects, disability, or other injury to the child who survives an abortion if the person does not have tail insurance pursuant to this section.

Subsection 4 states that failure of a person to maintain the tail insurance required by this section shall be an additional ground for sanctioning of a person’s license, certificate, or permit.

Section 188.052 (Beginning on line 2, page 25 and ending on line 25, page 26)

Subsection 1 states that an individual abortion report for each abortion performed shall be completed by the physician who performed or induced the abortion. Abortion reports shall include, but are not limited to, a certification that the physician does not have knowledge that the woman sought the abortion solely because of a prenatal diagnosis, test, or screening indicating Down Syndrome or the potential for Down Syndrome in the unborn child and a certification that the physician does not have any knowledge that the woman sought the abortion solely based on the sex of the baby.

Section 188.056 (beginning on line 1, page 26 and ending on line 26, page 27)

Subsection 1 states that no abortion shall performed on any woman after eight weeks gestational age or later except in cases of a medical emergency. Any person who knowingly performs an abortion after this time will be guilty of a Class B felony, as well as suspension or complete revocation of his or her license by his or her licensing board. The woman who has the abortion will not be charged with any crime related to the matter.

Subsection 2 states that it shall be a affirmative defense for any person alleged to have violated the provisions that this abortion was performed because of a medical emergency.

Section 188.057 (beginning on line 1, page 27 and ending on line 26, page 28)

Subsection 1 states that no abortion shall be performed after 14 weeks gestational age, except in cases of a medical emergency.

The rest of this section reiterates what was said above as far as criminal liability with changes to penalties and defense goes.

Section 188.058 (beginning on line 1, page 28 and ending on line 26, page 28)

Subsection 1 states that no abortion shall be performed after 18 weeks gestational age, except in cases of a medical emergency.

The rest of this section reiterates what was said above as far as criminal liability with changes to penalties and defense goes

Section 188.375

Subsection 1 states that this section is to be titled “Late-Term Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.”

Subsection 2 defines that a “late-term pain-capable unborn child” shall mean any child that is twenty weeks gestational age or later.

Subsection 3 states that no abortion shall be performed on any woman who is carrying a late-term pain-capable unborn child, except in cases of a medical emergency.

The rest of this section reiterates what was said above as far as criminal liability with changes to penalties and defense goes.

Section C states that because this bill is necessary for the health and safety of the unborn and born, it is hereby declared an emergency act within the meaning of the constitution and shall be in full force and effect at the time of it’s passage and approval.

For a link to the bill, click here.

In summary:

  • This bill modifies the tax credit of pregnancy resource centers

  • The “Right to Life of the Unborn Child Act” specifies that all abortion, except in cases of medical emergencies, are illegal and the contingent effective date is based on federal law and court rulings.

  • Prohibition of discriminatory abortions

  • The “Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act” specifies that all abortions after eight weeks, except in cases of medical emergencies, are illegal and the contingent effective date is based on federal law and court rulings.

  • Parental notification in cases of abortion upon a minor (with an emergency clause)

  • Materials that need to be provided to the woman seeking an abortion must be provided.

  • Abortion provider insurance is a must.

  • The “Late-Term Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” specifies any abortion that is performed after twenty weeks, except in cases of medical emergencies, are illegal and the contingent effect date is based on federal law and court rulings.

Caroline C.
FFL Cabinet Member
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