JEFFERSON CITY, MO. (CN) – The Missouri Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill that would place more restrictions on late-term abortions, and could send a doctor to prison for 7 years for performing one. It would allow abortion of viable fetuses only when a woman’s life is endangered or when continued pregnancy would “create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.”
The bill was passed by a voice vote and needs another state Senate vote before moving to the House, which has already passed its own version of the bill.
The vote came one day after the bill’s leading Democratic opponent, state Sen. Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, stalled legislation by insisting on an exception for a woman’s mental health. Justus eventually agreed to allow the bill to move forward after striking a compromise with the bill’s sponsor, Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer, who agreed to remove a proposed new definition of viability.
“The bill still accomplishes what it set out to do, which is to make doctors determine viability of a child and cut back on the number of abortions that are performed on viable unborn children,” Mayer told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Under the new bill, doctors could face up to 7 years in prison and $50,000 in fines for aborting a viable fetus if a woman does not qualify for an exception.
The woman would not face prosecution.