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Abortion in the U.S.

Missouri anti-abortion Senate Bill 1248

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Filing of an anti-abortion bill in Missouri:

With the sharp shift to the right of the U.S. Supreme Court justices' political philosophies in early 2006, some pro-life advocates see an opportunity to overturn the court's Roe v. Wade ruling. This would allow states to criminalize most abortions within their jurisdiction. By 2005-MAR, legislators in about nine states were drafting bills which would criminalizing almost all abortions. South Dakota was one.

On 2006-MAR-01, state senator Jason Crowell, (R-Cape Girardeau), filed such a a bill as Senate Bill 1248. 1 As written, the law is currently unconstitutional, because it violates decisions handed down by the Supreme Court -- most notably Roe v. Wade. However, the law may be declared constitutional if presented to the Supreme Court in the future.

State representative Wayne Henke, (D-Troy) filed a similar bill during 2006-FEB. Both Crowell and Henke hope that the recent appointments of two strict constructionist, conservative justices to the Supreme Court may allow this bill to stand if it is passed into law.

The bills would criminalize all abortions unless needed to save the life of the woman. No exception clauses are currently included in the bills to allow abortion in cases of rape or incest. A woman who faces serious health problems or serious and perhaps permanent disability would not be able to obtain a legal abortion in the state. Anyone performing an abortion, except to save the life of the woman, would be guilty of a felony and subject to 5 to 15 years in prison. 4

Representative Crowell also filed a separate proposal to put an abortion ban on the November ballot as a referendum. 2

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Initial comments on the bill:

bulletSenator Crowell said: "The rights of the unborn include the right to be born, and it's time that Missouri recognizes, respects and protects unborn human life." 2 On another occasion, he said: "Ultimately I think we need to get down to the core issue. Should abortion be legal in the state of Missouri?" 1
bulletRepresentative Henke said: "I can't say I've got a lot of strategy behind this, it's just what I believe. If you're pro-life, you're pro-life. Don't tell me you're pro-life and then not support this."
bulletAlison Gee, political director for Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, said: "We know that the majority of Missourians think that abortion should be safe and legal, and this goes directly against that." 1 On another occasion, she said: "I think it's pretty outrageous." She noted that the same legislators who support the bill are the same ones who were also seeking to restrict  women's access to emergency conception to prevent pregnancy. She asked: "Why are these people not going to the core issue of unintended pregnancy? That's why women seek abortions: because they become pregnant unintentionally.....And yet again these same legislators [who support SB1248] are making it hard to get these services and making it harder for kids in school to get information about contraception....why are these legislators, if they're so concerned about women, so concerned about women's health, so concerned about reducing abortions, why are they making it harder for them to get contraception?" She referred to a study by the Guttmacher Institute, It concluded that increased access to contraception led to decreased incidence of abortion "by maybe up to as many as half....So there is some middle ground, let's join together and try to reduce unintended pregnancies -- that's the core issue. If women don't get pregnant unintentionally, they won't ever have to face the decision whether...to terminate a pregnancy." 3
bulletGerald Beam, an organizer at Dexter Life Chain said that the bill is: "...an answer to prayer. In the past, I think the pro-life side has been too accommodating and trusting to the other side. And now I think the pendulum of public sentiment is beginning to swing in the opposite direction." Speculating about the response of the pro-life movement to exceptions that would allow abortions in unusual circumstances, Beam said: "...we might agree to an exception for the life of the mother. But then when you start bringing in the health of the mother, well what is 'health?' What if she says, 'well, I want to go on vacation to Florida with my husband, but I can't wear my bathing suit and I'll be depressed because I can't go'?" He suggested that a carefully worded exception to permit an abortion if needed to preserve a woman's future ability to bear children would warrant consideration. "...if it was narrow enough, I would think a lot of pro-life people could go along with it." He said that he would reject an exception based on rape or incest because "...only 1 to 2 percent of all abortions are due to a rape or incest." 3

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Related essays:

bulletLaws restricting abortion in the U.S. and Canada
bulletAnti-abortion bills in various states
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:

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

  1. Matt Franck and Jonathan Rivoli, "Missouri anti-abortion leaders question strategy of bills to ban procedure," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2006-MAR-02, at: http://www.stltoday.com/
  2. Jonathan Rivoli, "Missouri senator files bill to ban abortions," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2006-MAR-01, at: http://www.stltoday.com/
  3. Gary Exelby, "Implacable foes: pro-life, pro-choice sides clash on Senate Bill 1248," The Daily Statesman, 2006-MAR-03, at: http://www.dailystatesman.com/
  4. "Is Roe v. Wade doomed? The abortion battle is heating up as states pass anti-abortion bills," ABC News, 2006-MAR-03, at: http://abcnews.go.com/

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

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Copyright 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2006-MAR-04
Author: B.A. Robinson

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