ST. LOUIS – Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said Thursday there will not be a special session to address medical emergencies, including contraception and ectopic pregnancy, after a request from two Democratic state lawmakers.
Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo (D-Independence) and House Minority Leader Crystal Quade (D-Springfield) sent a letter Gov. Parson’s desk Monday, stating that medical and legal experts have “expressed concern and confusion” since Missouri enacted a law banning abortion except in “cases of medical emergency.”
That law came briefly after the Supreme Court ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place for nearly 50 years and overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24.
Parson says that all contraceptives are still legal in the state. He said he has trust in doctors to decide what is considered to be a medical emergency.
“You’re talking about a complicated issue that’s going to take time to figure out how to do this,” said Parson on his stance against a special session. “Bureaucrats and attorneys don’t need to be the ones decide on what is life-threatening, doctors need to have a seat at that table. Frankly, they’re more qualified to be able to make that decision than anybody else.
Doctors who perform an abortion in Missouri outside of an emergency could lose their license and face up to 15 years in prison under the state’s new law.
“I’ve got the ability to trust the doctors across to make those decisions,” said Parson. “I don’t know if there’s ever going to be a clear-cut answer on how to do that. The one thing I do know is it’s not bureaucrats and attorneys to make that decision. The legislation will have to play that.”
Quade sent the following response on the governor’s remarks Thursday:
“It’s nice to hear the governor finally say bureaucrats shouldn’t come between a patient and their health care provider, but he’s about three years too late after signing extreme legislation into law that does the exact opposite. Now, instead of bringing legal certainty to the right of Missourians to access and use birth control, the governor has opted to stick with vague assurances.
“While we agree the state’s extreme new anti-abortion law doesn’t criminalize birth control, the legislature must erase all doubt before some politically ambitious prosecutor decides trampling over Missourians’ rights is the best path to winning a Republican primary. We need a special session to settle this issue before innocent Missourians are wrongfully dragged through the criminal justice system, not after.”