Sen. Andrew Koenig Sponsors and Supports Sweeping Pro-Life Legislation

As Missourians, we are obligated to protect the most vulnerable in our society. We must protect the rights of unborn children. I believe the only difference between an unborn child and a baby is their level of development, level of dependency and location. These factors shouldn’t determine whether or not a child deserves to live. People needing lifesaving surgeries and medications are considered no less human than a healthy person, so why is this logic applied to an unborn child? Scientific evidence continues to show that life begins at conception with the development of a new, genetically distinct human organism.

With recent legislation passed in New York and proposed legislation in Virginia, I believe it’s time for Missourians to stand firm to protect unborn children and their constitutional right to life and liberty guaranteed in the 14th Amendment.

Last week, the Senate Health and Pensions Committee heard four important bills, including two of my bills, Senate Bill 139 and Senate Bill 345, to protect the life of unborn children.

Senate Bill 139, the “Heartbeat Bill,” would ban an abortion once a fetal heartbeat has been detected. This would require physicians to test for a fetal heartbeat. If a heartbeat is detected, the mother will be allowed to hear or see the heartbeat, and an abortion will not be performed. The presence of a heartbeat means that there is life, so it is unconscionable to think that there is a debate as to whether or not an unborn child is alive or has a right to life. Senate Bill 345 establishes the “Right to Life of the Unborn Act” and declares that Missouri shall become a “sanctuary of life” to protect pregnant women and their unborn children. Under this legislation, performing an abortion, except in the cases of medical emergency, is a class B felony and a doctor who performs an abortion could have their professional license suspended or revoked. For both Senate Bill 139 and Senate Bill 345, a woman who has had an abortion will not be prosecuted.

The other bills presented to the committee were sponsored by two of my colleagues. Senate Bill 279 establishes the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” which prohibits an abortion at 22 weeks, except in the case of a medical emergency. At 22 weeks an unborn child can feel pain. Senate Bill 312 ensures that Missourians are healthy at every stage of development and protects all human life from conception to death, regardless of age, health or condition of dependency.

Another important bill I support is House Bill 126. This legislation is similar to Senate Bill 139 in that it prohibits an abortion from being performed if a fetal heartbeat is detected, except in the case of a medical emergency. This bill has been approved by the Missouri House of Representatives and has been sent to the Missouri Senate. I look forward to reviewing this legislation in committee and discussing it on the Senate floor.

I also want you to be aware that all correspondence with this office is subject to a request for review and can be released to the public due to the passage of “Clean Missouri.”

As always, it’s an honor and privilege serving you in the Missouri General Assembly. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, concerns or ideas to improve our state government. Thank you for reading my capitol report and I look forward to sharing more of our work with you soon.