House looks to increase restrictions on abortions for minors

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JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri is looking to expand the state’s abortion laws by adding more restrictions for minors.

A Missouri House committee passed a new bill Thursday that would require the consent of at least one parent and/or guardian and notification of all other parents and guardians, plus the consent of the minor, prior to the abortion.

Currently minors only need the consent of one parent to get an abortion in Missouri. Existing law also does not require consent or notification for a minor to get an abortion if there are concerns for the minor's safety. 

Local abortion rights advocate Sue Gibson said requiring both parents' consent would put young girls even more at risk.

“A teenage girl knows who she can turn to in a time of crisis. It may or may not be her parent or guardian. Not everyone is safe going to their parent or guardian with news that will disappoint them,” Gibson said.

Catholic missionary Karianne Bolduc supports the bill and said she understands these decisions are hard for minors to make. Bolduc is part of a group that prays and holds anti-abortion signs on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood in Columbia.

“The family is the most basic fundamental unit of safety for a minor and a decision like this is an important decision that should involve the mother and the father,” Bolduc said.

The bill states a parent or guardian is not required to receive notice if he or she has been found guilty of certain offenses, is on the Sexual Offender Registry, has an order of protection against him or her, had his or her rights terminated, cannot be located, or is incapacitated as specified in the bill.

“Not every teenager is sophisticated enough to figure that out, to negotiate the hoops she has to jump though to get an abortion,” Gibson said.

“So while this is a good step in the right direction and hopefully will lead to less abortions, I think that the ultimate goal would be that there’s no abortions, period,” Bolduc said.

The bill will be sent to the House floor for further discussion next week.

[Editor's note: This article has been updated to clarify the language of the proposed law.]

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