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New Abortion Restrictions in Missouri: Gov. Jay Nixon Allows Passage of GOP Legislation

abortion-pill-planned-parenthood.jpg
via
The abortion pill.
New abortion restrictions are coming to Missouri.

Today, Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, announced that he is not taking any action on a controversial GOP bill that places new limits on non-surgical abortions, which means that the proposal will become law.

Women's rights groups and Democrats have vocally opposed House Bill 400, legislation that puts in place stricter requirements for the use of RU-486, also called mifepristone, or other "abortion-inducing drugs." The bill's sponsors say it's an effort to increase safety for women seeking this kind of service -- while critics say it's a clear anti-abortion initiative that could have the impact of altogether blocking this option for some Missouri women.

See also:
- Abortion: Would GOP Bill Make It Harder For Missouri Women To Access Services?
- New Abortion Restrictions? Proposal Sparks Cries of Todd Akin from House Dems
- Could GOP Bill Prevent Rape Victims From Accessing Emergency Contraception?

Critics of the proposal have urged Nixon to veto the measure and though he did not actually sign the bill, he gave it the green light today through his inaction.

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via Facebook

The short bill establishes that women must take the initial dose of the drug in person in the presence of the physician who prescribed it:

When RU-486 (mifepristone) or any drug or chemical is used for the purpose of inducing an abortion, the initial dose of the drug or chemical shall be administered in the same room and in the physical presence of the physician who prescribed, dispensed, or otherwise provided the drug or chemical to the patient. The physician inducing the abortion, or a person acting on such physician's behalf, shall make all reasonable efforts to ensure that the patient returns after the administration or use of RU-486 or any drug or chemical for a follow-up visit unless such termination of the pregnancy has already been confirmed and the patient's medical condition has been assessed by a licensed physician prior to discharge.

Asked about his decision to take no action, the governor apparently said:

He also, it seems, didn't want to block it.

Critics charge that the requirements prescribed in the bill are not necessary and could discourage or prevent women -- especially in rural parts of Missouri -- from choosing this option.

The bill essentially bans what is referred to as "telemedicine services" in the state, which critics of the legislation say is a safe practice and an important option for those who live far from clinics. Ten states have similar laws on the books.

Planned Parenthood says that one out of every five of its patients locally travels more than 100 miles to get to its clinics.

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via Facebook
Rep. Jeanie Riddle, House Bill 400's sponsor.

In a statement, the organization says that women in the U.S. have been safely and legally using this non-surgical abortion method for a decade, which gives women the option of a more private and less invasive method of ending a pregnancy.

"People in rural areas often have to drive very long distances to see a doctor in person. Health care centers, particularly in these areas, increasingly use telemedicine services for patients to receive quality medical care," says the joint statement by Paula Gianino, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri and Peter Brownlie, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. "The Legislature's attempt to ban safe and effective non-surgical abortion through telemedicine leaves rural Missourians behind when it comes to the latest advances in medical technology."

Here is a full copy of the bill and Planned Parenthood's full statement.

House Bill 400

GOVERNOR NIXON ALLOWS HARMFUL ABORTION RESTRICTIONS TO BECOME LAW

Planned Parenthood Advocates Urged Governor Nixon to Veto HB400 and Protect Women's Health in Missouri

Missouri -- Today, Governor Nixon allowed HB400 to become law, advancing additional unnecessary restrictions on a very safe medical procedure. The bill comes on the heels of two other misguided efforts to reduce access to birth control at pharmacies (SB126) and divert $2.5 million in tax funds to unlicensed and discredited pregnancy resource centers (SB20&HB698). The Missouri Legislature advanced proposals designed to endanger women's health while failing to expand Medicaid.

In a joint statement, Paula Gianino, President and CEO, ADVOCATES of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri and Peter Brownlie, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Kansas and Mid-Missouri released the following:

"We are deeply disappointed that Governor Nixon allowed HB400, the non-surgical abortion bill, to become law. Women in the United States have been safely and legally using non-surgical abortion for over a decade. Non-surgical abortion gives a woman the option of a more private and less invasive method of ending a pregnancy, in a setting in which she feels most comfortable. People in rural areas often have to drive very long distances to see a doctor in person. Health care centers, particularly in these areas, increasingly use telemedicine services for patients to receive quality medical care. The Legislature's attempt to ban safe and effective non-surgical abortion through telemedicine leaves rural Missourians behind when it comes to the latest advances in medical technology.

HB400 is another harmful restriction, in a long list of restrictions that does absolutely nothing to prevent unintended pregnancy. The Missouri Legislature has placed women's health at risk by choosing to divert tax credits to unlicensed, discredited pregnancy resource centers while refusing to increase access to preventive and life-saving health care through Medicaid expansion.

If the legislature truly cared about reducing the number of abortions in Missouri they would send legislation to the Governor that increases access to family planning services and provides Missouri's youth with comprehensive sex education."

Each year, Planned Parenthood health centers in Missouri see nearly 80,000 individuals for medical and educational services, including birth control. Nationwide, Planned Parenthood provides birth control for 2.5 million patients.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.



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27 comments
Marshall Patrick
Marshall Patrick

It's ok to disagree with someone, but Jill there is no need to be a mean spirited SOUL....I will pray for you, in the mean time take your meds

Marshall Patrick
Marshall Patrick

Jill Delia you are a mean nasty SOUL.......people say things that apply to themselves

Jill Baugh
Jill Baugh

I kinda think that's the point here.

Jill Delia
Jill Delia

Please feel free not to procreate if you feel that way. You would probably be doing the world a favor!

Catherine Betz
Catherine Betz

Our legislature clearly knows more about women's health than so-called experts like researchers and doctors. I mean, look at ALL the evidence that RU-486 is dangerous for women's health. Thank you, Missouri, for being there to tell me when I need to see my doctor.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

oh, boy...we got an internet tough guy here.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

where can i meet you in person so we can talk about this?

Margaret Booker
Margaret Booker

Wish the Governor had assertively vetoed the bill. Not sure outcome would have been any different with veto-proof legislature, but position would have been clearer. Let the lawsuits begin!

Marshall Patrick
Marshall Patrick

I believe in CHOICE......period......I also believe American families should only be allowed 2 children per household...we are over crowded already

Couch Pig
Couch Pig

this would be awesome for aborting some cows

Couch Pig
Couch Pig

Im for that and taking the labels off things ... trying to regulate the morons and let the problem work itself out for sure...Also curb stomping stereo theives is recomended

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

lmao! is that a dude there on the left? that's sad.

Max Schulze
Max Schulze

You mean like "thou shalt not kill", right? All murder should be legal I guess?

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

women count? obviously not calories by the looks of this group.

Couch Pig
Couch Pig

people should not impose their idiotic theological ideas on people

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

We do not allow schools to administer aspirin. We ought not let doctor prescribe drugs on patients they have not personally examined.  Common sense.

I have to disagree with Planned Parenthood's leading statement about the procedure being safe for the patient. In dealing with an abortion, you have two patients - the mother and the child. For one the result will definitely not be safe. For the other, we know excessive bleeding is a problem following any abortion. Getting proper follow-up check-up and treatment is critical to the life of the mother. If a tragic situation forces a mother to terminate the life of her child, let's not compound that with the life of the mother. Is not that way we want safe abortions in clinics and not coat hangers in alleys? Let's make certain the abortion is safe, and hopefully rare.

PJ Mitchell Rulo
PJ Mitchell Rulo

people should protect themselves period!! we have enough stuff to protect against pregnancy's..abortion's are simply for those people who didn't give a shit the night/day before and just wanted to get that freak on and let's never mind on that protection..more education and video's of abortions should be shown.make these people think twice about protecting themselves..and lot's not forget about contracting a disease from having sex with no protection.

Catherine Claire
Catherine Claire

This does not restrict doctors from giving it, simply makes them responsible for prescribing it. Shouldn't doctors speak IN PERSON to the person who they are diagnosing? It even says that women who choose to terminate a pregnancy this way do not have to come back to the same doctor as long as they have verification that the pregnancy was terminated. (Basically, an insurance policy so that doctors have to terminate the pregnancy, not just prescribe the meds and forget about the woman.) If women have been using this for a decade, then why are some people saying that this bill keeps rural women from "the latest" medical advances? That seems backwards. Also, why would a doctor hundreds of miles away prescribe any medication to someone whom they have never met? That seems like an awful pitfall! We already have legislation keeping all kinds of medication from being prescribed that way - including pain killers, antibiotics, even dermatological creams! Why should we hold doctors who deal with women's bodies to a lesser standard of care? I agree that, "If the legislature truly cared about reducing the number of abortions in Missouri they would send legislation to the Governor that increases access to family planning services and provides Missouri's youth with comprehensive sex education." Those who think this bill will prevent abortion are just plain dumb, but as far as holding doctors responsible for the health of their patients and discontinuing the endemic practice of never even attempting to truly assess a patient's needs, but going ahead and prescribing something - well then I think this bill shouldn't be painted in such a negative light. P.S. I'm a conservative pro-choice, pro-gay rights, feminist voter. (Basically, why should the government concern itself with anything other than its citizens safety? All decisions are ours to make as long as we are not harming others.) Please, don't call me a Republican!

Colleen O'Neil
Colleen O'Neil

Gov Nixon's refusal to block the bill is just as reprehensible as Riddle's authorship. If those small-government supporters would do more to advance education and education opportunities, they wouldn't have to worry so much about abortion.

Sonya Patterson
Sonya Patterson

Never surprised at the party ”of small government” wanting to limit the freedoms of people- unless it's gun control then heaven forbid. . .

jgibson34
jgibson34

And even if a veto would've happened, it still had a good chance of getting overridden by the House and Senate in ‪#‎Missouri‬

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

@Colleen O'Neil , you can make eduction available, but it still takes a person willing to learn for the education to work. We have far too many not wanting to learn. We provide FREE education through high school, yet look at the drop out rate. Forcing kids to sit in school is not the answer. Getting them to want to sit in school is the answer. 


Kids are smarter than many think. they know when their teachers are not teaching them reality. Too much pseudo-science social education is wasting the kids' time. Make them realize they are really learning hard science and developing their creative minds. It is not the "small-government" types trying to keep children from learning. It is the big government knows best types driving kids away from a free education.

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

@Sonya Patterson , in case you didn't notice Governor Jay Nixon is a democrat. I can name plenty of bills that restrict my freedoms sponsored by democrats, too. Both of the major parties want to control your life - whether in personal liberties or economic ones. Too often both.

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