JEFFERSON CITY, MO – A Missouri legislator has filed a bill that would abolish abortion as murder in Missouri with no exceptions.
Representative Jeff Pogue’s bill, House Bill 1177, states that “No person in this state shall perform, procure, or attempt to perform an abortion. Any individual who violates the provisions of this section shall be guilty of the offense of murder in the first degree and shall be punished in accordance with the penalties for that offense under the laws in effect on the effective date of this section.”
The bill also removes all language from Missouri statues that regulates or allows abortion, according to Legislative Assistant Rush Loftis, who worked for weeks to find a legislator willing to file the bill prior to meeting Pogue.
Multiple state senators and representatives, while all opposed to abortion and hormonal birth control, were unwilling to file the bill on the grounds that it would not hold up in court. “I explained that when the courts are wrong, it’s the duty of the legislature to correct them and that if the legislature doesn’t do their duty, the courts can keep doing whatever they want,” Loftis said. “When you bring up defying the courts, they want nothing to do with that. [Many of them] would probably agree with the Supreme Court’s website which says they are the final arbiter of the law.”
One senator argued that it would be too difficult to get the bill passed if it referred to abortion as first degree murder. “They didn’t think it could be done, so they’d prefer to do a heartbeat bill,” Loftis explained. Their reasoning, he added, was their belief that the majority of abortions performed in Missouri are performed prior to a heartbeat, and therefore a heartbeat bill would bring abortion to a halt. “But they’re not considering the Plan B pill and all sorts of products you can pick up in stores to kill your kids,” Loftis said.
When he approached Pogue with the idea of filing a bill to repeal all laws on abortion and make abortion first degree murder, Pogue agreed without hesitation.
Pogue filed the bill at the same time as HB 1176, which would enable the prosecution of any woman who uses controlled substances while pregnant, causing her child to be born with the substance in his or her system.
The bill is currently in the hands of Speaker of the House Todd Richardson, who is waiting to assign it to a committee. Richardson can, at any time move the bill straight to the floor for debate, or hold it without a committee assignment until the last day of session.
Loftis urged abolitionists and other supporters of the bill to contact Richardson and request that the bill receive a hearing. To reach out to him, call his office at (573) 751-4039.