Four abortion bills introduced at Capitol

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JEFFERSON CITY – Emotions were high as people gathered at the Capitol Tuesday to discuss a number of abortion bills. 

One of the bills, HB 1867, would prohibit certain selective abortions relating to sex, race or disabilities, like Down syndrome.  

Rep. Dogan, R-Ballwin, who wrote the bill, said some studies suggest up to 90 percent of Down syndrome diagnoses have led to abortion. 

One father in the crowd brought his 4-year-old child with down syndrome and asked, “Can you guys look at this sweet face here, and really tell me that more should not be done for these kids? I mean, 9 out of 10 is an astonishing and incredibly frustrating number."

Missouri wouldn’t be the first state to implement a bill like this one. 

Dogan said North Dakota and Ohio already have laws that make it illegal to abort a child based on a disability. He also said seven states have laws making it illegal to get an abortion based on gender.

Planned Parenthood said the bill doesn’t do “anything to support people who face discrimination, including women of color and people with disabilities and their families.”

Another bill discussed would prohibit a person from transporting a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion without the consent required by state law. If HB 2159 is passed, people would need the consent of a guardian to get an abortion, unless the child is emancipated.  

Speaker Rachel Goldberg shared her personal story with the Childrens and Families Committee. She said, if she hadn’t gotten an abortion, she and her son, who was diagnosed with a severe case of skeletal dysplasia, could have died. 

Goldberg said she had to travel to Colorado to get the abortion because Missouri wouldn’t allow her to.

“I had to deliver my son by myself and then drive the ten hours back home and really that is something that should handled by a doctor that I knew and was familiar with and that I trusted in a state where I could be surrounded by friends and family during a really awful time,” Goldberg said.

The committee also heard HJR 53, which proposes a constitutional amendment about when someone is considered a "person." Rep. Moon, R- Ash Grove, sponsored the bill that would change the definition of "person" to include "every preborn human child at every stage of biological development from the moment of conception until birth."

Many people came to show their support for the measure, including mother and prayer-leader Erma Stogsdill. 

“We have allowed a whole death mentality in this nation. We’ve opened the door to a spirit of death. We’ve killed over 60 million babies in this nation,” she said. “I just think it’s time for America, the greatest nation on the face of the earth, to no longer stand and say we legalize the killing of our own children.”

Planned Parenthood called HJR 53 “extreme” and “unconstitutional.” The group said the resolution would ban abortion entirely in Missouri, including cases of rape, incest and when the health of the pregnant person is in danger. 

Planned Parenthood also said the resolution would ban emergency contraception and birth control methods like the pill and IUD.

Moon said 250 people wrote letters supporting the bill and only one person wrote against it. 

Goldberg said she was against Moon’s bill.    

“I think that we have to stand up and let them know actually a majority of people do agree with us and it’s just extreme people like Representative Moon who disagree, and who want to push their religious agenda onto the rest of the state,” Goldberg said. “We need to be here to show them these bills have impacts on real people.”