St. Louis Public Radio: Missouri House eyeing 1st-in-nation parental consent abortion provision

Updated 5:45 p.m., May 2, 2017, to correct headline and story that there is no 20-week ban amended to the underlying bill — The Missouri House approved an amendment Tuesday that would give Missouri a first-in-the-nation parental consent for minors provision and a ban on donating fetal tissue for research.

The abortion restrictions came in the form of an amendment to an underlying bill, which now goes to the House fiscal review committee for an estimate of how much it’ll cost with the new amendments. A full vote could come Thursday.

An amendment, sponsored by GOP Rep. Rick Brattin of Harrisonville, placed all of a Senate bill into the surgical-center regulatory measure. 

While four other states require two-parent consent or notice before a minor can have an abortion, the Guttmacher Institute says Missouri would be the first state to put the burden of notifying a non-custodial parent on the custodial parent, not the doctor or the clinic.

There are exceptions, including if the non-custodial parent is a fugitive, a sex offender or has had a restraining order filed against him or her by the custodial parent.

“Parental consent can be a real detriment to minors accessing abortion services,” according to Elizabeth Nash, the senior state issues manager with Guttmacher, a nonprofit research group that tracks abortion laws across the country and supports abortion rights. “What we know from the research is when minors don’t involve their parents in this decision around abortion, they have very good reasons for not doing so.

She added: “What we’re seeing here is really trying to legislate family communication, and substituting politicians’ judgment for how a family operates and works together.”

Another part of the amendment, which passed 106-40, would make it a felony to donate fetal tissue for medical or scientific research — something Planned Parenthood says its Missouri clinics don’t do. Research itself on fetal tissue would not be illegal; only the donation of tissue for that purpose.

It also would require that fetal tissue be given an ID number, so it can be tracked by the Department of Health and Senior Services from the abortion facility to final disposal to ensure it’s not sold or donated.

Sen. Jill Schupp, a Democrat from Creve Coeur, criticized the amended bill, including the fetal tissue provision.

“People are so locked in their ideology that they forget that we have more important things to do … I would think you would want to use all the tools that we can to be sure that we’re are helping to stop debilitating diseases going forward,” she said.

Correction: The original report misstated the status of the bill, and that there was a 20-week abortion ban amended to the bill.

Krissy Lane contributed to this report.

Follow Erica on Twitter: @ehunzinger; Marshall: @marshallgreport

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