Public hearing for abortion bill sparks debate

10 months 1 week 6 days ago Wednesday, January 31 2018 Jan 31, 2018 Wednesday, January 31, 2018 12:33:00 AM CST January 31, 2018 in News
By: Pat Mueller, KOMU 8 Reporter
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JEFFERSON CITY - A bill in the Missouri House of Representatives that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy had a public hearing at the state capitol Tuesday evening. 

The 20 week mark indicates a fetus' "pain capable gestational age," or when it starts feeling pain in the womb. 

Representative Donna Lichtenegger, R-Jackson, sponsored the bill. She said the bill is a copy of one that was recently in Congress. The US Senate blocked its version of the bill. 

Lichtenegger had a former obstetrician-gynecologist who performed abortions with over 35 years of experience testify in favor of the bill. Representative Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, said the Supreme Court was wrong in the Roe v. Wade decision. 

"The age, the stage of development or whether the pre-born can feel pain should have no bearing whether or not they should be murdered. I think we need to push that back," Moon said. "We've been going 45 years and haven't stopped it yet. That is beyond belief." 

Mothers who previously had abortions also testified at the hearing Tuesday. 

Kadie Tannehill from Saint Peters said she was unaware and very naive to the trials that others experience in their pregnancies, until she got pregnant for the second time.

"My husband and I, with six highly educated doctors, chose to have an abortion for medical reasons," Tannehill said. "At our anatomy scan around 21 weeks, our doctor told us it looked like Spina Bifida."

The doctor told Tannehill and her husband if their baby was born, he would need around-the-clock-care until his life ended. 

Another mother, Rachel Goldberg from Springfield, has a similar story.

"In 2015, I was pregnant with my first son, and he was diagnosed with a lethal form of skeletal dysplasia, and so we needed to have an abortion," Goldberg said. "By the time we were through all the testing and everything, I was 26 weeks along, I couldn't have an abortion in Missouri, so I had to travel to Colorado."

Goldberg said she found out about the diagnosis at her 20 week ultrasound. Current Missouri abortion law says a woman can't get one after 21 weeks and six days from the conception date. 

"Once it became very evident that he probably wouldn't live, and if he did he would have had multiple surgeries until one killed him, we knew we really didn't want him to suffer," Goldberg said.

The exact same bill failed to get passed during the state's last legislative session.  

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