Summary of the House Committee Version of the Bill

SS SCS SB 793 -- ABORTION

SPONSOR:  Mayer (Pratt)

COMMITTEE ACTION:  Voted "do pass" by the Special Committee on
General Laws by a vote of 8 to 4.

This substitute specifies that except in the case of a medical
emergency, abortions cannot be performed or induced without the
voluntary, informed, and uncoerced consent of the woman at least
24 hours prior to the abortion.  The physician performing or
inducing the abortion must provide orally and in writing:

(1)  The physician's name;

(2)  Medically accurate information including a description of
the proposed abortion method, the medical risks, alternatives to
the abortion, and follow-up care information;

(3)  The gestational age of the unborn child; and

(4)  The anatomical and physiological characteristics of the
unborn child.

The physician performing or inducing the abortion or a qualified
professional must:

(1)  Provide the pregnant woman with printed materials from the
Department of Health and Senior Services that describe the
anatomical and physiological characteristics of the unborn
child's brain and heart functions, extremities, and internal
organs; various methods of abortion and the risks associated with
each method; the possibility of causing pain to the unborn child;
alternatives to abortion; and that the father of an unborn child
is liable to provide child support, even if he has offered to pay
for an abortion.  The materials must be available from the
department by November 30, 2010, and must be legible, objective,
unbiased, and scientifically accurate.  All information provided
to the pregnant woman must be given to her in a private room to
ensure privacy, confidentiality, and no fear of coercion.  If
needed, an interpreter will be provided.  All information must be
provided at least 24 hours before payment for an abortion can be
accepted;

(2)  Provide the woman at least 24 hours prior to the abortion
with a geographically indexed list maintained by the department
of health care providers, facilities, and clinics where she would
have an opportunity to view an ultrasound and hear the heartbeat
of the unborn child.  The list is to indicate those that provide
the services free of charge;

(3)  Explain that she is free to withhold or withdraw her consent
to the abortion at any time without fear of losing treatment and
assistance benefits; and

(4)  Prominently display statements encouraging a pregnant woman
seeking an abortion to contact agencies that help women carry an
unborn child to full term.

The woman must certify in writing on a checklist form provided by
the department that she has received all of the required
materials; had an opportunity to view an active ultrasound image
of the unborn child and hear the heartbeat; and given her
voluntary and informed consent, freely and without coercion, to
the abortion procedure.  No abortion will be performed or induced
on an unborn child of 22 weeks gestational age or older unless
the mother is given the opportunity to have a pain alleviating
drug administered to the child.  The physician must retain a copy
of the form in the patient's medical record.

In the event of a medical emergency that results in an abortion,
the physician must certify in writing the nature and
circumstances of the emergency; and the certification must be
kept in the abortion-performing facility's permanent file for
seven years.

The department must maintain a toll-free, confidential, 24-hour
hotline telephone number for callers to obtain regional
information about abortions, risks, and alternatives to an
abortion and make the information available on the department's
web site.

Only licensed physicians can perform or induce an abortion.
Anyone violating this provision will be guilty of a class B
felony.

Health insurance exchanges established or operating in Missouri
or any exchange administered by the federal government or its
agencies are prohibited from offering health insurance contracts,
plans, policies, or optional riders that provide coverage for
elective abortions.

FISCAL NOTE:  Estimated Cost on General Revenue Fund of Could
exceed $747,324 in FY 2011, Could exceed $889,376 in FY 2012, and
Could exceed $913,057 in FY 2013.  No impact on Other State Funds
in FY 2011, FY 2012, and FY 2013.

PROPONENTS:  Supporters say that the bill allows women to make
better informed decisions regarding an abortion by providing them
with all relevant medical and legal information.  Many women
regret the decision to have an abortion.  The current Supreme
Court doctrine allows for truthful information to be presented to
women on behalf of the state.  The provisions in the bill do not
create an undue burden for a woman and are likely to be upheld in
court.  The bill does not mandate that a woman view an ultrasound
or hear the heartbeat but gives her the opportunity to receive
the information if she chooses.

Testifying for the bill were Senator Mayer; Missouri Right to
Life; Missouri Catholic Conference; Missouri Family Network;
Missouri Family Policy Council; Campaign Life Missouri; Missouri
Eagle Forum; Kathleen Forck, Forty Days for Life; and various
citizens.

OPPONENTS:  Those who oppose the bill say that it requires
doctors to present biased information on behalf of the state.
Promising women that alternatives to abortion and child care will
be fully funded is wrong given the current lack of funds for
these purposes.  Many of the risks of abortion presented in the
bill are not statistically significant.

Testifying against the bill were Planned Parenthood Affiliates in
Missouri; and NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri.

Copyright (c) Missouri House of Representatives


Missouri House of Representatives
95th General Assembly, 2nd Regular Session
Last Updated September 14, 2010 at 3:15 pm