By Jay Nies
Missouri’s Catholic bishops are calling on Catholics throughout the state to help get milestone pro-life legislation passed.
The Missouri Senate will return to session on Monday, July 24, to consider a much stronger, amended version of SB 5, a bill the Senate approved in June during a special session called for by Gov. Eric Greitens.
The Missouri House of Representatives subsequently made several important pro-life amendments to SB 5, making it “the strongest pro-life bill to be considered by the General Assembly in many decades,” according to Mike Hoey, executive director of the Missouri Catholic Conference (MCC), public-policy agency of the state’s four Roman Catholic dioceses.
“Passage of House-amended SB 5 will be a historic moment for Missouri, making our state once again a national leader in protecting the sanctity of all human life,” Mr. Hoey stated.
Gov. Greitens has pledged to sign the amended bill of the Senate passes it.
However, passage of the bill is not a sure thing. The bishops are urging people to contact their state senators right away, urging them to support the amended version of SB 5.
The easiest and fastest way to do that is through the Missouri Catholic Conference website, www.votervoice.net/MOCATHOLIC/Campaigns/53438/Respond.
Would accomplish much
Highlights of amended SB 5 include:
- Overturning the St. Louis “abortion sanctuary” ordinance and prohibiting other municipalities from passing similar ordinances; preventing the forcing of religious schools to hire abortion advocates as teachers or landlords from renting to abortion clinics; and outlawing harassment of pregnancy resource centers.
- Requiring the Missouri Department of Health to make annual, on-site and unannounced inspections of abortion facilities;
- Specifying that only physicians licensed to practice in the state of Missouri may perform or induce abortions in an abortion facility located in Missouri;
- Requiring a doctor to provide medical information to a woman prior to an abortion decision;
- Requiring an abortion doctor to obtain approval of a “complication plan” from the Missouri Department of Health for steps that will be taken when problems arise from administering a medication abortion;
- Requiring abortion facilities to have written policies for managing an emergency and transferring patients to a hospital;
- Creating a Class A misdemeanor to deter abortion staff from knowingly ordering or requesting medical first-responders to deviate from standard protocols of emergency care;
- Requiring all fetal tissue from abortion to be submitted to a board-eligible pathologist for examination; and for the pathologist to report to the Missouri Department of Health;
- Enacting “whistleblower” protections for employees of an abortion facility who disclose information about possible health and safety violations of abortion law;
- Granting the Missouri attorney general equal authority, along with county prosecutors, to enforce Missouri abortion laws.
More information will be posted at www.mocatholic.org as it becomes available.