The Missouri House approved a measure Wednesday with enough approval to override a gubernatorial veto. The bill HB 1370 would require two parent notification before a minor can have a legal abortion. Currently minors seeking abortion in Missouri must have written consent from one parent, but were this bill to pass, another “custodial parent or guardian” would have to also receive written notification.
The measure was approved with a 109-35 vote. It was sponsored by Rep. Rocky Miller, R-Lake Ozark, who claimed that it would foster conversations about health within families if the abortion caused health problems. Civil rights advocates, however, say that women with bad family situations would be in great danger. Vulnerable teens may only feel comfortable talking to one parent if they are in an abuse relationship, for example.
Sam Lee, president of Campaign Life Missouri, said parents “have the right and obligation to know what’s going on with their children.” He questioned what would happen if the minor had an adverse reaction to medication used during the abortion or suffered from heavy bleeding because of problems with a surgical abortion.
There are not other medical procedures, including those with higher risks to a young woman than abortion, where two parents are required to give informed consent in Missouri. Only abortion.
There would be some approved exceptions, notably if the parent was a sex offender or was found guilty of child abuse.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports:
Rep. Genise Montecillo, D-St. Louis, said young women who have been sexually abused may not have the support of both parents.
“For the lucky child who has one parent who believes them and is willing to advocate for them, and then to say they have to have both parents is cruel,” she said. “It’s absolutely cruel.”
On Wednesday, after a 39 hour Democratic filibuster, Missouri House Republican seemed determined to tear through as many civil liberties as possible. In addition to passing discriminatory anti-gay legislation, they passed a 2017 budget which would remove Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood, stripping $380,000 of allocated funds that would have been used by women, poor women in particular, to obtain cervical exams, cancer screenings, pregnancy tests, birth control and vaccines. Efforts to stop Medicaid funds are in violation of federal law.
Medicaid does not fund abortions in Missouri and these funds would have sustained other womens’ health programs.
Federal law only allows Medicaid to reimburse abortions in the case of rape, incest, or imminent danger to the life of the mother. In 2015 the Missouri Planned Parenthood affiliates were reimbursed $126.24 by Medicare for these kinds of abortions.
Despite this, the reason Rep. Robert Ross, R-Yukon gave for championing the budget cuts Tuesday was to prevent state tax dollars from paying for abortions.
“There is a whole litany of things on this list that have nothing to do with abortion and simply has to do with women’s health care,” Rep. Gail McCann Beatty, D-Kansas City, said Tuesday. “For the last time, stay out of our uterus.”
An official with the Department of Social Services previously said the state couldn’t discriminate in distributing Medicaid funds simply because it didn’t like the services Planned Parenthood provides.
Last year, several states were warned against discriminating against Planned Parenthood by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, citing a 2011 memo that says states cannot terminate Medicaid funding to providers because of the services offered. Federal law allows those on Medicaid to obtain services such as family planning from any qualified provider, and ending Medicaid agreements with Planned Parenthood could conflict with that.
Indiana and Arizona have previously battled against Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood in court. Planned Parenthood won both times.
Both the budget proposal and the two-parent notification bill must be approved by the Missouri Senate.