Sen. Dave Schatz’s Column for June 21

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Another extraordinary session has been called and as a lifelong pro-life advocate, I am glad to be back at work. As the Senate and House work through this pro-life bill, I want to provide some background on what the legislation will accomplish.

This special session was called by the governor to repeal a St. Louis City ordinance which prevents faith-based “crisis pregnancy centers,” from being able to choose who they hire in regards to potential employees’ opinions on abortion. Obviously these pro-life centers want to hire pro-life employees to help counsel women in crisis.

The special session also comes in response U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs’s, May 2 decision, which overturned Texas’ abortion clinic laws; meaning Missouri’s were no longer enforceable. This action also changed a requirement stating Missouri doctors who perform abortions must have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. The judge also struck down rules that abortion clinics meet the same standards hospitals have for outpatient surgery. I and the pro-life majority feel that these commonsense regulations enhance safety and we want them in place.

Soon after the May 2 decision, Planned Parenthood announced it was planning to open clinics in Springfield, Kansas City and Joplin, thus the urgency behind the governor’s decision. Currently, St. Louis is the only city in the state that has abortion services.

The Senate took up Senate Bill 5 early the week of June 12. Just after midnight on June 15, the Senate voted 20-8 to send the bill to the House. Senate Bill 5 includes new regulations and provisions regarding pathology reports on fetal remains. There are also increased whistleblower protections for abortion clinic employees who report any illegal activity or infractions of the law.

Once passed, the bill will also preempt the St. Louis City ordinance that is negatively impacting faith-based crisis pregnancy centers.

After debate in the House, on June 20, with a vote of 110-38, that body passed Senate Bill 5, which changes several new abortion laws in the state.

The House added language into the bill which would change the state’s consent laws regarding abortion. Only the physician performing the procedure or the referring physician will be able to have a conference regarding the woman’s options or discuss complications under the new legislation. The fetal tissue reporting requirements are still contained in the new version of Senate Bill 5.

Thank you for reading this weekly column. Please contact my office at (573) 751-3678 if you have any questions.