JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A House committee in Missouri has approved a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would recognize the unborn as persons, sending it on to the full House for a vote.
House Joint Resolution 98 was introduced by Rep. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, as a ballot initiative to be presented to the people of Missouri in November.
“[A]ll constitutional government is intended to promote the general welfare of the people; … all persons, including unborn human children at every stage of biological development, have a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the enjoyment of the gains of their own industry,” it reads in part.
“[T]his state recognizes the right to life of every unborn human child at every stage of biological development and shall protect such life from deprivation by the state or private action to the extent permitted by the federal Constitution,” the resolution continues. “Nothing in this constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.”
As its text was tweaked on Tuesday, the proposal now also notes that the people of Missouri have a right to call upon elected officials to “enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or if necessary to save the life of the mother.”
Opponents of the measure opine that the bill would outlaw abortion in the state and would result in a lawsuit.
“The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on personhood multiple times in the form of allowing abortion in the country,” Sarah Rossi of the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri (ACLU) told reporters. “State Supreme Courts have ruled on multiple resolutions like this and they’ve been struck down.”
But Moon says that the move would only set the groundwork for ending abortion and would not ban the practice in and of itself.
“It’s essentially to put in the [Missouri] Constitution that all life is protected,” he stated during a hearing on March 29. “It is a constitutional framework for any other laws that can come after it.”
Rebecca Kiessling, a pro-life advocate who was conceived in rape, also spoke at the hearing and noted to those gathered that if it had not been for the laws on the books at the time of her birth, she might have been aborted.
“I deserved to be protected, and every child deserves that same protection,” she declared. “I’m going to do everything I can to protect others.”
On Tuesday, the House Committee on Children and Families approved the bill 8-3, now sending it on to the full House for a vote.
“All life is life, regardless of how it was conceived,” Rep. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, declared. “If you’re going to determine death by heartbeat, no brain activity and all these parameters, the things that determine life are way into the early stages of a pregnancy.”
Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis, argued that the move “is extremely punitive and … would be placing many women in danger.”
Thus far, no personhood amendments that have been presented to the people, such as in Mississippi, North Dakota and Colorado, have been successful.
Nearly 60 million children have been murdered in the womb since the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade.