Last week, the Missouri General Assembly passed legislation reforming the state’s abortion laws. On June 7th, the governor called the Missouri General Assembly into its second extraordinary session of the year. The call was in response to an activist federal judge who abolished common sense regulatory standards — that are required in other medical facilities in Missouri — and put the health of women in serious danger. Furthermore, the session addressed a new St. Louis “abortion sanctuary city” law that treads directly on the religious and First Amendment freedoms of Missourians.
“The overreach by activist Judge Sachs’ and the Board of Aldermen in the City of St. Louis raised this issue to the need of immediate action by the General Assembly,” said Sen. Paul Wieland. “I was pleased that we passed Senate Bill 5, which contains some of the strongest protections to protect the life of the innocent and unborn in Missouri.”
For nearly 50 days, the Missouri General Assembly worked to craft and pass Senate Bill 5. This legislation strengthens and improves Missouri law in nine areas.
- It requires annual and unannounced inspections of abortion clinics.
- It gives the attorney general jurisdiction to enforce Missouri abortion laws.
- It protects religious liberties and the First Amendment by preempting St. Louis City’s “Abortion Sanctuary City” ordinance.
- It requires chemical abortions to have a complication plan.
- It requires consent for medical procedures and requires the physician to inform the patient of potential risks at least 72 hours in advance.
- It modifies the definition of an ambulatory surgical center and creates a new definition of abortion facilities. The language includes provisions relating to infection control, licensure standards, staff training and whistleblower protection. It also requires that physicians who perform abortions be licensed to practice in Missouri.
- This act creates a crime for interfering with medical assistance. If an abortion clinic knowingly attempts to prevent medical personnel from providing medical assistance, in accordance with all applicable standards of care, they will have committed a Class A misdemeanor.
- It requires that all tissue removed be examined by a pathologist within 72 hours to ensure that no tissue was accidentally left in the mother.
- Finally, it provides whistleblower protection to employees of an abortion facility, or any facility involved in abortion, who disclose information concerning violations of the law.