JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CN) – Physicians prescribing abortion-inducing drugs may face greater requirements than physicians performing surgical abortions, under new restrictions approved by the Missouri House.
The law would require a doctor, not a nurse, to examine a woman at least 24 hours before prescribing RU-486, an abortion-inducing drug.
Prescribing doctors would have to have clinical privileges at a nearby hospital and privileges to intervene with surgery if necessary at a hospital or the clinic where the drug was given.
The bill would require physicians to carry additional medical malpractice insurance of at least $1 million per occurrence and $3 million annually for injury or death of a child born alive after an attempted abortion.
Missouri law already requires a woman to wait 24 hours after consulting a doctor – or another qualified professional – before having an abortion.
The bill passed the House by an overwhelming 116-34 vote. It needs a second vote in the House to move to the Senate.
Supporters said the bill would make it safer for women to take RU-486. Opponents called it government interference in private medical and religious decisions.
A Planned Parenthood spokeswoman told The Associated Press that the legislation would force the organization to change. Planned Parenthood affiliates in Missouri rely on staff other than doctors to perform initial consultations and do not conduct a physical examination.