Abortion in the U.S.
Proposed Missouri ballot.
overnor's Task Force on Abortion
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
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
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
"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."
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. Itís 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. Itís a
downward spiral. Thatís 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
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:
ďI certainly would begin with the presumption that abortion has a
negative impact on Missouri children, Missouri women, Missouri men, because
itís 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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