JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri legislature wrapped up its 2016 session on Friday without passing several proposals related to abortion. Supporters of such measures expressed disappointment, while opponents saw those measures’ failures as victories.
Two aimed to ban fetal tissue donations, and to strengthen laws on tracking of fetal remains and the licensing and inspection of facilities that provide abortions.
It’s filing was prompted by a series of videos released last summer alleging that Planned Parenthood was illegally selling fetal tissue. Several states, including Missouri, opened investigations to determine if the organization was breaking any states laws. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster’s office did not find any wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood in its fetal tissue program.
Missouri Right to Life’s Executive Director Patty Skain says passing that proposal was her organization’s priority this session.
“We had so many of these hearings, discussions and investigations last fall and those determined that there were definitely holes in the procedures in the state of Missouri that could allow this kind of harvesting to take place,” said Skain.
Sarah Rossi with the ACLU says a Supreme Court case is looming that ties directly to that bill’s provisions.
“The proposals could be overturned three months from now and could embroil the state in very long and costly litigation,” said Rossi. “Regardless of the reason why the bills have not moved, I think it is the smart, responsible and frankly fiscally conservative move.”
Another proposal that died was what supporters called a ‘personhood’ amendment. It would have asked voters if the state Constitution should be changed to say that unborn babies at every stage of development should be recognized as human beings.
A senate bill offered this session would have prohibited physicians in Missouri from performing abortions when the only reason a woman wants it is that the child has or could have Down syndrome.
Pro-life advocates were pleased, though, that the legislature cut about 300,000 tax dollars to Planned Parenthood by refusing 8-million federal dollars.