Abortion

It’s been a month since Missouri lawmakers discussed abortion restrictions in the second special session of the summer. They return Monday with the hopes of swiftly approving a revised bill and getting back to their day jobs and vacations.

Sen. Andrew Koenig, a Republican from Manchester, is the chief sponsor of the bill, which the House revised on June 20. He said he’s confident his party has the votes to kill any filibuster by Democrats (Senate GOP has a 24-9 edge in sheer numbers) and approve the measure “as is.” 

When it goes into its second special session Monday, the Missouri General Assembly will focus on a frequent — and arguably, favorite — target: local control.

On issues ranging from gun rights to anti-discrimination regulations, Republican leaders have made it clear that they believe there should be a consistent law across Missouri. That’s why since 2007, they’ve approved bills to bar communities from enacting stricter gun laws, overturned Kansas City’s higher minimum wage (there’s an action pending against St. Louis’ higher wage, too), and tossed out Columbia’s plastic bag ban.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Some St. Louis Catholics are suing the city over an ordinance that protects women against workplace discrimination based on whether they've had an abortion, used contraceptives or are pregnant.

The federal lawsuit was filed Monday on behalf of a group of Roman Catholic grade schools; a home for pregnant women; and a private company whose owner is Catholic. It seeks to stop the city from enforcing the ordinance, which opponents say makes St. Louis a sanctuary city for abortion.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis and the city are in a legal showdown over new provisions in St. Louis' anti-discrimination law regarding women's reproductive decisions. The archdiocese's schools and a private company, O'Brien Industrial Holdings, on Monday in federal court filed a lawsuit challenging a St. Louis ordinance that they say adds abortion rights supporters to a protected class, while discriminating those who are against abortions.

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The Missouri House has passed stricter requirements for tracking fetal tissue after abortions.

The bill passed Monday with a 117-40 vote. It now moves to the Senate.

The proposal prohibits anyone from donating fetal tissue from an abortion to scientific research and sets stricter standards for pathologists to record and track fetal tissue after an abortion procedure.

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President-elect Donald Trump has suggested that he’ll nominate U.S. Supreme Court justices that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that ended many abortion restrictions in the U.S.

If he succeeds, some states might have laws like that in the Republic of Ireland - which has the most restrictive abortion laws of any industrialized democracy.

Under the Eighth Amendment to Ireland's constitution, abortion is illegal in the heavily Catholic country in all cases except when the life of the woman is at risk. Both the woman or the doctor performing the abortion can face up to 14 years in prison if convicted.

But polls show the constitutional amendment underpinning the ban has lost popular support, raising pressure on Ireland's government to hold a referendum on the issue. On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at the effort to repeal Ireland's constitutional ban on abortion.


Missouri’s two Planned Parenthood affiliates on Wednesday morning sued to overturn the state’s highly restrictive abortion laws, a move expected since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down similar laws in Texas in June. 

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Jefferson City, sets up a showdown over state statutes that were enacted in the wake of the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which held that the right to an abortion in the early stages of pregnancy is rooted in the Constitution.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Kristin Metcalf-Wilson said the activist in her couldn’t help leading cheers of “What do we want? Access. When do we want it? Always.” with those gathered Monday at Glenn’s Café to celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision in the case Whole Woman’s Health et al. v. Hellerstedt.

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A U.S. Supreme Court ruling is calling into question whether some Missouri abortion regulations will stand.

  Supreme Court judges ruled 5-3 Monday that some Texas regulations are medically unnecessary and unconstitutionally limit women's abortion rights.

Missouri has similar laws requiring abortion doctors to have privileges at nearby hospitals and clinics to meet hospital-like standards for outpatient surgery.

Spokeswoman Nanci Gonder said Missouri's attorney general is reviewing the ruling.

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File Photo / KBIA

Measures on union fees and changes to abortion policy are pending in the final week of Missouri's 2016 legislative session.

Missouri Capitol
Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

 The Missouri House has passed a controversial "personhood" measure opponents say could ban abortion, including in cases of rape and incest.

Missouri Capitol
Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

A proposed state constitutional amendment that would virtually outlaw abortion in Missouri is one step closer to being debated by the full State House.  

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Republican Missouri lawmakers are pushing measures opponents say will ban abortions, as well as fetal-tissue donation from those procedures.

Missouri Capitol
File Photo / KBIA

 Minors who want an abortion in Missouri would need to tell both their parents under a bill that has passed the House.

David Shane / Flickr

The Missouri House has given initial approval to a bill that would tighten the requirements for a minor to get an abortion.

The Planned Parenthood clinic in Columbia has stopped performing medically-induced abortions. The Columbia Tribune reports that the clinic ceased offering the abortions Monday. 

A Columbia Planned Parenthood facility likely will lose the ability to perform medication-induced abortions.

Dan Verbeck / KBIA

Missouri's Democratic attorney general says an investigation by his office found no evidence that Planned Parenthood in St. Louis is selling fetal tissue from abortions.

Chris Koster's report released Monday said a review of more than 300 abortions performed in June found that all tissue had been properly incinerated.

Koster launched an investigation following state and national outrage, primarily by Republicans, about undercover videos released by anti-abortion activists. The videos show Planned Parenthood officials discussing the transfer of fetal tissue to researchers.

The last time the Senate Interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life met, members threatened to hold a Nixon administration official in contempt unless she produced documents identifying which hospital had a working relationship with Columbia's Planned Parenthood clinic.

That became a moot point when Department of Health and Senior Services Director Gail Vasterling sent the committee a letter stating that Colleen McNicholas, M.D., had received admitting privileges from University of Missouri Health Care.

The Planned Parenthood Center in Columbia has announced it will resume medically induced abortions at its local clinic.

Amanda Byler / KBIA

Mizzou Students for Life, a local chapter of a national anti-abortion organization, gathered in the MU Student Center Wednesday as a part of a national campaign about Planned Parenthood.  

File / KBIA

Missouri Republican lawmakers want to expand notification requirements for minors in the state seeking abortions.

Current state law requires only one parent to give consent for a minor to get an abortion; the other parent does not have to be notified.

  

This week, Congress returns with House leaders vowing to revisit the anti-abortion bill they pulled off the floor last week. The ban on abortions after 20 weeks was withdrawn when it appeared there weren't enough Republican votes to pass it.

Why did it need quite so many Republican votes? Because the GOP can no longer count on a contingent of Democrats to help out on abortion-related votes.

j.stephenconn / flickr

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri Republican is proposing that women be required to get notarized permission from the father to receive an abortion.

State Representative Rick Brattin of Harrisonville recently filed legislation requiring a father's consent except in cases of rape or incest.

   A new Missouri state law requiring women to wait 72 hours to have an abortion after their initial consultation is set to take effect Friday, and the state’s only abortion provider says it will not immediately appeal the measure in court.

President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, Paula Gianino, said attorneys for their national organization did not think an appeal would be successful in state or federal court.

Giving teenagers access to free, long-term contraception can dramatically reduce rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion. That's according to new research out of Washington University in St. Louis.

(Updated 12:15 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 11)

The Missouri General Assembly has made the state the third in the country to require a 72-hour waiting period before a woman can obtain an abortion, after the state Senate killed off a filibuster.

The Senate voted 23-7 – along party lines -- to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of the bill, but only after deploying a procedural action that it hadn’t used in seven years to end a Democratic filibuster that had gone on for about two hours.

Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones says extending the abortion waiting period to “a mere 72 hours” is not excessive when considering the sanctity of life.

His speech Monday at the Springfield Pregnancy Care Center comes two days before lawmakers are set to convene for its annual veto session at the state capitol. He was joined Monday by Republican representatives Kevin Elmer, Eric Burlison and Sonya Anderson. 

If passed, the wait period would become the second most stringent in the nation.                  

File Photo / KBIA

  Missouri lawmakers are poised to vote this week to enact one of the nation's longest abortion waiting periods.

(Updated 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 2)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed a bill that would have tripled the state’s waiting period for an abortion to 72 hours, saying it reflected  “a callous disregard for women who find themselves in horrific circumstances.”

The governor noted in Wednesday’s veto message that the bill, HB 1307, had no exceptions for rape or incest.

“This extreme and disrespectful measure would unnecessarily prolong the suffering of rape and incest victims and jeopardize the health and wellbeing of women,” Nixon said Wednesday.

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