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Mo. Senate endorses abortion requirements bill

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to a bill that would expand the information women must receive 24 hours before undergoing an abortion.

A woman seeking an abortion would have to be told that a fetus could experience pain during the procedure. She would also be given the options of viewing an ultrasound and hearing a heartbeat if one yet exists.

The bill is sponsored by State Senator Rob Mayer (R, Dexter).

"It will help a woman as she makes that difficult decision, and hopefully after being properly and fully informed, she'll make the decision not to abort the child," Mayer said.

Senators Joan Bray (D, St. Louis) and Jolie Justus (D, Kansas City) oppose the bill. During floor debate, they said the additional requirements would force a women's clinic in Columbia to close its doors an extra day per week.

"They won't be able to help the women get their birth control and have their Well Women exams, their cervical cancer exams, all that kind of thing?" Bray asked.

"Exactly," Justus responded.

The legislation needs one more vote from the Senate before moving to the Missouri House, which has already passed its version of the bill. In addition to the information requirements, it would mandate that prosecutors be notified whenever a girl younger than 18 seeks an abortion, whether she goes through with one or not.

The House bill would also make it a crime to coerce a woman into having an abortion.