Pregnant. Photo credit: UnSplash CNA
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St. Louis, Mo., Jul 26, 2017 Church Pop.- Pro-lifers lauded a bill that will restrict abortion access in Missouri, granting the state attorney general more power to prosecute violations, and requiring both stricter health codes and proper fetal tissue disposal.
“Today is a great victory for pregnancy care centers that help women and children all over the state,” Governor Erik Greitens said in a statement according to the Associated Press.
“I'm proud that many of Missouri's lawmakers stood strong to protect the lives of the innocent unborn and women's health.”
The bill passed through the state's Senate 22-9 on July 25. Missouri's Catholic Conference supported the move by promoting it at the parish level and encouraging Catholics to contact their senator.
Greitens said the bill was in response to local ordinances aimed at curbing so-called reproductive health “discrimination,” which affected the state capital's pregnancy centers and religious organizations. The bill was also in response to the ruling of a federal judge which struck down some of Missouri's previous anti-abortion laws.
The legislation overturns a previous move that made St. Louis an “abortion sanctuary city,” which added abortion and contraceptive use to existing non-discrimination laws. It also prohibits St. Louis forcing religious schools from hiring abortion advocates and landlords from renting to abortion clinics.
Josh Hawley, the state's attorney general, will now have the power to prosecute abortion legislation violations, in order to balance concern surrounding a left-wing prosecutor who may not pursue abortion offenses. The bill also ditched a provision which would have forced the attorney general to notify prosecutors 10 days before action is taken.
Additional provisions include mandatory inspections by Missouri's health department once a year and stricter requirements on how clinics dispose of fetal tissue after the abortion.
The bill will also restrict which medical staff may refer women for an abortion and may have state-mandated discussions about the procedure. Before inducing an abortion to save the mother's life, the clinics must also get approval from the health department.
The law will be sent to the republican governor next, who is expected to sign into effect soon.