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Missouri Passes Opt-out Bill/Informed Consent Enhancements

By Daniel McConchie

Today, on the last day of Missouri’s legislative session, the legislature passed a combo opt-out/informed consent bill that now goes to Governor Jay Nixon for his consideration.

SB 793 makes Missouri the fifth state to vote to opt-out of the abortion requirements in the federal health care reform law.  Additionally, it expands the state’s informed consent rules requiring doctors to offer women the opportunity to see an ultrasound and hear their unborn child’s heartbeat.  It also requires the distribution of new printed materials that detail the risks of the abortion procedure, alternatives to abortion, and detail on what her child looks like in two-week increments.  Signs must be placed in visible locations in abortion clinics telling women that the state provides assistance to women who choose to continue their pregnancy and need help.

Opponents are already attacking the bill saying that it requires physicians to “repeat medically inaccurate statements to the patient” though interestingly they don’t state what they think is inaccurate.

Governor Nixon has not indicated whether or not he will sign the bill into law.  This is the first abortion-related law he will have to consider as Governor.  While Nixon ran on a pro-abortion platform in 2008, he has not been hostile to pro-life issues so far while in office.  How he chooses to act on this bill will be a defining moment for him and his administration.
Related:
Missouri becomes the 5th state to opt out of taxpayer-funded abortion with assistance from AUL