JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A Republican representative in the Missouri House has introduced a bill that would abolish abortion in the state and criminalize the act as first-degree murder.
Rep. Jeff Pogue, R–Salem, introduced H.B. 1117 on March 1, and is waiting for the measure to be assigned to committee.
“No person in this state shall perform, procure, or attempt to perform an abortion,” it reads in part. “Any individual who violates the provisions of this section shall be guilty of the offense of murder in the first degree and shall be punished in accordance with the penalties for that offense under the laws in effect on the effective date of this section.”
It eliminates language outlining that it is the intent of the state “to regulate abortion,” as well as allowances for abortion to save the life of the mother, while also retaining text noting that physicians may use the “usual and customary standards of medical practice” to save both the mother and child.
Pogue’s legislative assistant, Rush Loftis, told The Liberator that some lawmakers, while agreeing that abortion should be abolished, were afraid to present such a bill out of a belief that it would be struck down by the courts.
“I explained that when the courts are wrong, it’s the duty of the legislature to correct them and that if the legislature doesn’t do their duty, the courts can keep doing whatever they want,” he said. “When you bring up defying the courts, they want nothing to do with that. [Many of them] would probably agree with the Supreme Court’s website, which says they are the final arbiter of the law.”
Pogue has also presented a bill that would penalize those who use controlled substances while pregnant, and thus cause “a child to be born with a controlled substance.”
As previously reported, Rep. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, introduced the “Right to Life Act” in the Missouri legislature in January, which recognizes the unborn as being persons from the point of conception and therefore entitled to the right to life.
“The life of each human being begins at conception and is hereby deemed a person,” it declares. “As with all persons, unborn children have protectable interests in life, health, and well-being. The natural parents of unborn children have protectable interests in the life, health, and well-being of their unborn child.”
The bill consequently mandates that “[l]aw enforcement officers, officers of the court, and any licensed or state regulated entities in the state shall affirmatively enforce article I, section 10 of the Constitution of Missouri, which specifies that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”
Moon’s bill was referred last month to the House Committee on Children and Families.