Week of March 26 – 30
HB 1541, a bill that would allow medical professionals to deny medication and care because of their religious beliefs passed the House and is now moving to the Senate. Also, SB 749, a bill that would allow employers to deny their employees contraception coverage under employee insurance plans, passed through the Senate.
Week of March 19 – 23
A House bill that would mandate hospitals provide emergency contraception to rape victims immediately after an assault, HB 1607, had a public hearing on Wednesday. This bill would ensure women had basic rights to contraception in the event of sexual assault. Though most would assume that survivors of sexual assault automatically receive compassionate and comprehensive healthcare following an assault, a woman’s right to emergency contraception (Plan B) to prevent unintended pregnancy from rape is under the attack of conscience clauses, like HB 1541 and SB 657. Both bills would allow medical professionals to deny their patients or customers health services like basic birth control. HB 1933, which bans abortion based on sex-selection or gender abnormality, is currently in the House Health Care Policy committee.
Week of March 12 – 16
No new reproductive health bills were introduced this past week. There has, however, been action on several other pending pieces of anti-choice legislation. At this point, SB 658, a bill that would restrict the use of the abortion pill; another tax credit for Crisis Pregnancy Centers, HB 1435; a bill that gives CPCs immunity from government intervention, HB 1357; and a bill that creates more bureaucratic hurdles for abortion providers, HB 1385 have all had hearings and will likely be voted and signed into law. SB 657, a conscience clause that would enable medical professionals to deny patients medication; another conscience clause HB 1541; and HB 1274another bill that would restrict the use of “abortion inducing drugs” are all recommended for passage by their respective assigned committees. The only bill that hasn’t gone beyond a second reading is SB 582, a bill that would provide a tax credit to Crisis Pregnancy Centers.
Week of March 5 – 9
No new reproductive health related bills were introduced this past week. But, two bills were recommended to be passed and two went through hearings. SB 657, a conscience clause that would allow medical professionals to refuse patients medication if it was related to contraception or abortion, was recommended to be passed on February 28 by the Senate Small Business, Insurance and Industry Committee. On February 29, HB 1435, a bill that would provide a tax credit to Crisis Pregnancy Centers, went through a hearing by the House Children and Families Committee. SB 658, a bill that would restrict the use of the abortion pill, went through a hearing on March 6 by the Senate Health, Mental Health, Seniors and Families Committee. And, on March 8, the House Rules Committee passed HB 1541, a bill that would allow medical institutions and professionals to deny treatment and medication based on their “conscience.”
Week of Feb. 27 – March 2
Representative Stacey Newman proposed a bill, HB 1853, in the Missouri House that would prohibit a vasectomy from being performed on a man unless it was to save his life. The bill is a tongue-in-cheek statement meant to bring to light the absurdity of bills being proposed that would restrict women’s access to reproductive health care.
Week of Feb. 20 – Feb. 24
In Missouri, no bills relevant to reproductive rights were proposed this week but, a hearing was held on HB 1357 Feb. 22. HB 1357 bill would allow for crisis pregnancy centers to have immunity from government regulation despite operating under the guise of being a healthcare provider, meanwhile clinics that provide reproductive health care and abortion services have faced several bills that increase government intrusion. Also, on Feb. 7 a pro-midwife bill, HB 1678, was proposed by Representative Thomas Long that would provide more protections for autonomous midwives certified by the North American Registry of Midwives. This bill would benefit pregnant women who want a variety of options in how they choose to carry their pregnancy to term.
Week of Feb. 13 – Feb. 17
Senator Jolie Justus proposed a bill, SB 800, in the Senate that would require course materials in sexual education programs be medically accurate and peer-reviewed. This bill would require that evidence be taken into account when teaching sexual health information, so that ideology doesn’t get in the way.
Week of Feb. 6 – Feb. 10, 2012
On February 7, Senator Rupp proposed SJR 49 which would overrule the federal mandate for employers to cover contraception in their health insurances. This doesn’t protect religious freedom, but compromises women’s access to contraception and services they have a constitutional right to. The majority of women use contraception which indicates this coverage is valuable and taking that access away would only create more financial burden.
Week of Jan. 30 – Feb. 3, 2012
On February 2, 2012, Senator Lembke proposed SB 745, an act regarding “alternatives-to-abortion agencies.” Despite the fact that legitimate medical facilities and clinics that offer reproductive health care services and abortions endure a significant amount of government interference, this bill would make crisis pregnancy centers nearly immune from government intervention, even if their model is based on spreading misinformation. This discriminatory bill gives more power and leeway to anti-choice organizations and allows organizations posing as medical facilities to deliberately mislead women.
Week of January 23-27, 2011:
House Bill 1541 and Senate Bill 657 are companion bills to extend the existing conscience clause to include pharmacists. The bills state that any medical professional could refuse prescriptions such as emergency contraception and birth control.
Senate Bill 658 would restrict women’s access to medication abortion by requiring that the drug only be taken in the presence of a physician in a hospital or an abortion facility. House Bill 1274 works further to create cumbersome barriers to women’s access to medication abortion by requiring a physical examination of the patient before she is able to take the drug.
House Bill 1435 and Senate Bill 582 work together to provide a tax credit to Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) – even though these facilities have been proven to provide misleading information and are founded under anti-choice ideology. House Bill 1357 also makes CPCs exempt from state regulation.
House Bill 1385 creates more reporting requirements for Title X facilities which creates an unnecessary bureaucratic burden.
Week of January 16-20, 2012
In the Missouri House Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger introduced a bill, HB 1357, that would prohibit government regulation of Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) and other “alternatives to abortions organizations.”
This article gives a thorough overview of the Missouri legislative outlook regarding women’s reproductive rights this year. http://www.stlbeacon.
Week of April 4-9, 2011:
SB 65 passed the Senate and now moves to the House. This bill is a pre-viability ban, as seen in other states, and would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
HB 28 passed the House and now moves to the Senate. This bill would prohibit non-physicians from prescribing an abortion-inducing drug and specifies that a pharmacy cannot be required to be connected with the drug.
The remaining abortion bills have stalled in the Legislature since Spring Break.
Week of March 13-19, 2011:
Missouri House members pushed through anti-choice legislation before they headed off for spring break. Lawmakers voted 119-38 on Thursday and approved HB213; it now goes to the state Senate. The legislation would remove a general exception for women’s health from Missouri’s current law banning abortions on viable fetuses. It would grant exceptions only when a woman’s life is endangered by a physical issue or when the pregnancy poses physical impairment. Two doctors would need to agree before an abortion is performed on a viable fetus. Physicians who violate the standards could face up to seven years in prison. The sponsor of the bill is running for Speaker of the House for 2013–a clear indication that he’s looking out for his own political gain rather than looking out for the welfare of women.
The Senate sister bill, SB 65, has moved forward and is scheduled for perfection upon Legislators return from spring break.
For more information on abortion related bills in the Missouri state legislature, click here.
Week of February 14-18, 2011:
- HB 213, the pre-viability abortion ban, passed through the House Health Care Policy Committee by a 9-to-1 vote.
Week of February 7-11, 2011:
- HB 213 had its first hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 9th. The legislation would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks of gestation unless two doctors agree the pregnancy constitutes a “medical emergency” for the woman, or the fetus is determined to be not viable.
Week of January 31-February 4, 2011:
- HB 328 was introduced and it would prohibit anyone who is not a physician from prescribing or administering EC.
Week of January 17-21, 2011:
- A bill prohibiting abortions past 20 weeks based on fetal viability, HB 213, was first read in the House on Thursday. The bill does have a health exception.
Week of January 10-14, 2011:
- The Senate is considering viability legislation. SB 65 would modify provisions relating to abortion, namely the definition of viability.
- The House is considering pharmacy refusal legislation. HB 28 specifies that no pharmacy can be required to perform, assist, recommend, refer to, or participate in any act or service resulting in an abortion and will be immune from liability for refusing to do so.
- The Republican leadership is considering introducing fetal-pain legislation, but no bills have been introduced as of yet.