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A Missouri Bill Could Make Cops Go After Women Who Have Abortions

A bill from a Republican lawmaker would effectively make ending a pregnancy legally equivalent to murder.

by Carter Sherman
Feb 6 2020, 8:44pm

A Missouri Republican wants to totally abolish abortion in the state, legally redefine fetuses as people, and likely even have police go after women to “affirmatively enforce” the law.

In a pair of bills introduced recently, Rep. Mike Moon proposed that Missouri treat fertilized eggs as human beings from the moment of conception, with all the rights that go with that designation. One of the bills, dubbed “The Right to Due Process Act,” establishes that fetuses are protected by the due process clause of Missouri’s constitution, which rules that “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” And cops and the courts, the bill makes clear, must enforce that provision.

That would effectively make ending a pregnancy legally equivalent to murder; indeed, in the other bill, Moon cites “abortion as murder.”

In that bill, which would outlaw abortion in Missouri, there are no exceptions for rape or incest survivors. A similar ban passed in Alabama last year, sparking a nationwide outcry; it has since been blocked from taking effect.

Requests for comment from Moon were not immediately returned. When a VICE News reporter asked Moon’s legislative aide what “affirmatively enforce” means, the aide suggested that the reporter get a dictionary and a copy of the Missouri constitution. In response to questions about the consequences women who get abortions might face if these bills were to become law, the aide declined to provide what she called “legal analysis.”

Moon, first elected in 2013, has long made his opposition to abortion clear. In 2017, he suggested that the Missouri Capitol building’s museum include an exhibit on the history of abortion — and that the abortion exhibit be placed near the exhibit on slavery.

“The number of lives lost by abortion is more than we lost during slavery and during the Holocaust,” Moon said in a statement, the Kansas City Star reported. “We need to start looking at abortion in the same light as we do both of those tragic events.”

The “Right to Due Process Act” has just one co-sponsor, while the bill to abolish abortion has none. However, the Republican-controlled Missouri Legislature is stridently opposed to abortion: Last year, it passed a bill to ban abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy, before many people know they’re pregnant. Thanks to a court challenge, that law is currently blocked from taking effect.

However, abortion access may soon die out in Missouri anyway. The last abortion clinic in the state is currently locked in a battle with the state over whether it can keep its license to perform the procedure.

The Guardian first reported on Moon’s bills.

Cover: Abortion-rights activists dressed as characters from the Handmaid's Tale stand in the center of the Missouri State Capitol during the Everyone for Reproductive Rights Rally, Saturday, June 22, 2019 in Jefferson City, Mo. The rally was in response to the state's refusal to reissue a lease for Missouri's last abortion clinic located in St. Louis. (Sally Ince/The Jefferson City News-Tribune via AP)

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