Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Senate Votes to Make Late Abortion a Felony

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Senate Votes to Make Late Abortion a Felony

Article excerpt

The Senate voted Monday to outlaw late-term abortions and to make it a felony for a physician to perform such operations.

The only exception to the prohibition would be to save the life of the mother. The vote came after three hours of sometimes loud and emotional debate.

One supporter of the bill, state Sen. Danny Staples, D-Eminence, said the procedure was "the most hideous crime we can commit in this nation." The Senate adopted the bill (SB275) on a voice vote after opponents failed to amend it to permit the procedure under certain circumstances, including to protect the health of the mother. The bill defines the procedure, also known as partial-birth abortion, as a method in which "the person performing the abortion partially vaginally delivers a living fetus before intentionally killing the infant and completing the delivery." When the bill was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year, abortion opponents described the procedure as one in which the fetus is partly removed, legs first, through the birth canal. With the base of the skull barely visible, the doctor cuts an incision and drains the brain through a suction tube. The committee also heard testimony from a woman who said the bill amounted to "dangerous legislation." She had such an abortion in 1995 after an ultrasound in the seventh month showed that the fetus had a chromosomal disorder. Doctors told her the fetus, if delivered, would die. Sens. Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, and Ken Jacob, D-Columbia, led opponents to the bill who tried to permit the procedure in certain circumstances. Clay said the bill was an attempt to erode the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions permitting abortions. "We are in no position to make this decision," Clay said. "We should not be overly intrusive in peoples' lives." Clay wanted to allow the procedure in cases where the unborn child had a lethal abnormality. That lost 28-5. Jacobs' amendment, which would have allowed the procedures to preserve the health of the mother, went down 28-6. …

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