Abortion in the U.S.
Missouri anti-abortion Senate Bill 1248
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.
Representative Crowell also filed a separate proposal to put an abortion ban
on the November ballot as a referendum. 2
Initial comments on the bill:
||Senator 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
||Representative 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."
||Alison 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
||Gerald 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
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Matt Franck and Jonathan Rivoli, "Missouri
anti-abortion leaders question strategy of bills to ban procedure," St.
Louis Post-Dispatch, 2006-MAR-02, at:
Jonathan Rivoli, "Missouri senator files bill to ban abortions,"
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2006-MAR-01, at:
Gary Exelby, "Implacable foes: pro-life, pro-choice sides clash on Senate
Bill 1248," The Daily Statesman, 2006-MAR-03, at:
"Is Roe v. Wade doomed? The abortion battle is heating up as states pass
anti-abortion bills," ABC News, 2006-MAR-03, at:
Copyright © 2006 by Ontario Consultants on
Latest update: 2006-MAR-04
Author: B.A. Robinson