In Jefferson City, the assault on a woman’s right to choose continues.
Two new bills in the House would place even more limits on minors’ access to an abortion. On Tuesday, ACLU Legislative and Policy Director Sara Baker testified that both bills fall far short of the standard for abortion regulations set out by the U.S. Supreme Court.
HB 182, sponsored in the Missouri House by Rep. Tom Hurst (R-Meta), would make it a Class E felony for any person to transport a minor across state lines to receive an abortion.
This bill threatens the due process, privacy, and equal protection rights of young women across the state. The Supreme Court has found that the ability to access comprehensive health care is a fundamental right protected by the Constitution.
The 2016 decision in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstadt, set an important two-part for new restrictions on abortion access. First, is the connection between the proposal and women's health real? Second, does the medical benefit of the proposal outweigh the burden to access the proposal creates? If the answer is no to both of these questions, then it is unconstitutional.
HB182 is not about promoting women’s healthcare.
“The unconstitutional restriction will tie Missouri up in expensive litigation. This law would beg for another lawsuit while inflicting pain, grief, and trauma on women who need care," said ACLU Legislative and Policy Director Sara Baker.
Rep. Rocky Miller (R-Lake Ozark) introduced a second assault on a minor's abortion access. His bill, HB362, requires a minor to get the consent of both parents before being allowed to exercise her right to an abortion.
Under current law, a minor seeking an abortion requires the consent of one parent. This bill adds an obstacle that fails under theWhole Women’s Healthstandard. The Alaska Supreme Court recently struck down a similar bill because requiring the consent of two parents does not further women’s health.
This bill would instead likely put young women in harm’s way. Half of young women who are pregnant have experienced violence, and more than one-third of minors who don’t tell their parents about their abortions were afraid of a violent reaction or getting kicked out of their home.
Research shows laws such as this have almost no effect on whether a teen talks with their parents about an abortion. Instead, it leads to riskier procedures later on.