Missouri Omnibus Abortion Bill (SB 279)

This law was last updated on May 8, 2019


This law is Anti–Choice Model Bill

State

Missouri

Number

SB 279

Status

Proposed

Proposed

Jan 22, 2019

Topics

20-Week Bans, Heartbeat Bans, Physicians Reporting Requirements, Reporting Requirements

Full Bill Text

www.senate.mo.gov

SB 279 is an omnibus abortion bill that would—among other things—ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat has been detected; and trigger a statewide abortion ban if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. 

Trigger Law

The bill declares that the state and all of its political subdivisions are a “sanctuary of life” that protects “pregnant women and their unborn children.”

The bill would trigger a statewide abortion ban if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

It would be a felony to perform or induce an abortion upon a pregnant person, except in cases of medical emergencies.

Any person who knowingly performs or induces an abortion in violation would be guilty of a class B felony and may lose their professional license.

The bill clarifies that a pregnant person who receives an abortion would not be subject to prosecution.

Heartbeat Abortion Ban

The bill would require a physician to first determine whether there is a detectable fetal heartbeat or brain function prior to performing or inducing an abortion. The method of determining the presence of a fetal heartbeat or brain function must be consistent with the physician’s “good faith understanding of standard medical practice.”

The physician would need to record in the patient’s medical record the estimated gestational age of the fetus, the method used to test for the presence or absence of a heartbeat or brain function, the date and time of the test, and the results of the test.

The physician would be required to give the pregnant patient the option to view or hear the fetal heartbeat.

If a fetal heartbeat is detected, the physician would be required to inform the pregnant patient, in writing, that a fetal heartbeat has been detected and that an abortion may not be performed under Missouri law except in cases of medical emergency.


A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks of pregnancy—two weeks after a person’s first missed period—and well before many people even realize that they are pregnant.


If a fetal heartbeat is not detected, the physician would be required to perform the abortion within 96 hours of the conclusion of the fetal heartbeat test. If an abortion is not performed within 96 hours of the test, a new fetal heartbeat detection test would need to be conducted by a physician.

A physician who fails to conduct a fetal heartbeat detection test prior to the performance or inducement of an abortion upon a pregnant patient would, for each instance of failure, be subject to having his or her license or license application rejected, revoked, or suspended by the state board of registration for the healing arts for a period of six months and be subject to a fine of $1,000.

A physician who performs or induces an abortion upon a pregnant patient after a fetal heartbeat test reveals the presence of a fetal heartbeat would have his or her license revoked, and any future license application rejected, by the state board of registration for the healing arts.

“Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act”

The bill would prohibit abortion at 20 weeks.

The bill would prohibit the performance of an abortion upon a pregnant person carrying a “pain-capable unborn child,” except in cases of medical emergency.

The bill defines “pain-capable unborn child” to mean:

[…]an unborn child at twenty weeks since the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period, at which point an unborn child is capable of feeling pain.

Any person who violates this provision would be guilty of a class B felony and may lose their professional license.

If an abortion is necessary due to a medical emergency, the physician would be required to terminate the pregnancy in the manner which provides the best opportunity for the fetus to survive unless termination of the pregnancy in that manner would pose a greater risk to the life or health of the pregnant patient.

In cases of medical emergency, the bill would require there to be an additional physician other than the physician performing the abortion, to take control of and provide immediate medical care for a child born as a result of the abortion.

Any physician who violates this provision would class D felony and may lose their professional license.

Reporting Requirements

Any physician who performs or induces an abortion would need to report to the department the following information:

  • The probable gestational age;
    • If a determination was made, whether ultrasound was employed, and the week of probable gestational age determined.
    • If no determination was made, the basis of determination that a medical emergency existed;
  • Which method of abortion was employed;
  • If the fetus was deemed capable of feeling pain, the basis of determination that termination of the pregnancy was still necessary in order to avert serious health risk to the patient; and
  • If the fetus was deemed capable of feeling pain; whether the method of abortion used was one that provided the best opportunity for the fetus to survive.

The reports would be maintained in strict confidence by the department, and would not be available for public inspection.

The department would be required to release an annual statistical report based on all the compiled reports from the previous year.


Below is the original version of SB 279.

As introduced, SB 279 would prohibit a person from performing or inducing an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy unless it is necessary to prevent serious health risk to the pregnant patient.

Specifically, the bill prohibits an abortion when a fetus has reached the “pain-capable gestational age,” which the bill defines to mean:

“[…]twenty-two weeks since the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period, generally consistent with the time that is twenty weeks after fertilization.”

The bill would require the physician performing or inducing the abortion to first make a determination of the probable gestational age of the fetus, except in the case of a medical emergency.

No person may perform or induce, or attempt to perform or induce, an abortion if it has been determined by the physician, or by another physician upon whose determination that physician relies, that the probable gestational age of the fetus has reached the pain capable gestational age, unless the patient has a condition that so complicates their medical condition as to necessitate the abortion to avert their death or to avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, not including psychological or emotional conditions.

If an abortion is necessary, the physician would be required to terminate the pregnancy in the manner which, in reasonable medical judgment, provides the best opportunity for the fetus to survive unless, in reasonable medical judgment, termination of the pregnancy in that manner would pose a greater risk either of the death of the pregnant patient or of the substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the patient.

Reporting Requirements

Any physician who performs or induces an abortion would need to report to the department the following information:

  • The probable gestational age. If a determination was made, whether ultrasound was employed, and the week of probable gestational age determined. If no determination was made, the basis of determination that a medical emergency existed;
  • Which method of abortion was employed;
  • If the fetus was deemed capable of feeling pain, the basis of determination that termination of the pregnancy was still necessary in order to avert serious health risk to the patient; and
  • If the fetus was deemed capable of feeling pain; whether the method of abortion used was one that provided the best opportunity for the fetus to survive.

The reports would be maintained in strict confidence by the department, and would not be available for public inspection.

The department would be required to release an annual statistical report based on all the compiled reports from the previous year.

Any physician or other licensed medical practitioner who intentionally or recklessly performs or induces an abortion in violation of this section would be considered to have acted outside the scope of practice permitted by law or otherwise in breach of the standard of care owed to patients and would be subject to discipline from the applicable licensure board for such conduct including, but not limited to, loss of professional license to practice.


Related Legislation

Based on model legislation drafted by the National Right to Life Committee.

Identical to HB 339 and HB 680.

Identical to HB 1266, which failed to pass during the 2018 legislative session.

Similar to HB 908HB 692HB 757, and HB 1, all of which failed to pass in the 2017 legislative session.


Latest Action

1/22/19 – Introduced.


People

Primary Sponsor

Co-sponsor

Organizations