After the vote, the bill's sponsor, Rep. Rocky Miller, R-Lake Ozark, called it “a common-sense bill” and said the goal of the bill is to create a conversation.
The Missouri House of Representatives preliminarily approved a bill Wednesday that would require minors to inform all parents or legal guardians before getting an abortion.
In Missouri, a minor seeking an abortion only needs the consent of one parent or guardian before the procedure. This bill would require the minor to provide written proof of notification before a doctor can perform an abortion.
After the vote, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rocky Miller, R-Lake Ozark, called it “a common-sense bill” and said the goal of the bill is to create a conversation.
“It helps the person getting an abortion get a full idea of what’s going on,” Miller said.
He also said it could allow pregnant teenagers to have a support system, which may lead them to make a different decision.
Rep. Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, is skeptical of the bill.
“That’s great in a normal, functioning co-parenting relationship, but we don’t know how rare or non-rare those situations are,” Quade said.
Opponents of the bill fear it does not protect children who are victims of sexual abuse by a guardian.
“I worry about the potential danger that we are putting these minors in if they are required to notify and recreate or establish conversation again between a legal parent that they may not want to be speaking to for legal reasons, or various other reasons,” Quade said.
The bill provides an exemption if there has been a conviction for sexual abuse for a minor or charges relating to child pornography. The bill also provides an exception if the child has an order of protection out against the parent or guardian. A minor also can petition for a court order to allow the abortion without notification.
“Not every woman or young girl who goes through an abusive situation wants to open their story to the public and go through the court system,” Quade said.
The bill also provides an exception for medical emergencies.
Miller said that someone seeking an abortion could fake the second parent’s notification with the risk of civil penalty, but not criminal penalty. “If you’re really afraid of (the guardian), and you’re afraid that they’re a bad actor, make it up,” he said.
Quade said Miller indicated he is open to adding an amendment to add safety precautions for minors, but she also questioned the bill’s purpose: ”The bill doesn’t really do anything other than scare young women into feeling like they need to do something that they don’t want to do,” Quade said.
Missouri law requires women to wait 72 hours before receiving an abortion. This bill would not change that requirement.
The House still must give final approval to the bill before the Senate would begin to consider it.