Missouri House votes to tighten rules for minors’ abortions
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Girls who want an abortion in Missouri would need to meet tighter requirements under legislation endorsed Wednesday by the House.
Girls younger than 18 already must submit to an abortion provider the written consent of a parent or guardian. Rep. Rocky Miller, R-Lake Ozark, has proposed requiring the consenting parent to verify that the girl’s other parent has been notified in writing of the abortion.
Lawmakers voted 109-35 to give the bill initial approval. That many votes would be enough to overcome any veto by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, though the bill needs another vote before going to the Senate.
Miller said he wants to start more conversations among families before an abortion, not make it harder to get one. More than a decade ago, he said, his wife called to say their 15-year-old daughter was pregnant and they were at Planned Parenthood. They gave their daughter space to think about it, he said, and eventually she decided not to have an abortion.
It was important for his daughter to know her parents would support her, Miller said, and now he and his wife are raising her child.
“I know there’s other families out there in other situations, and things can go bad,” he said, explaining that was why his bill excludes parents who have been convicted of crimes such as child abuse, have been the subject of a protective order or are “habitually in an intoxicated or drugged condition.”
But opponents of the bill said many abusers are never convicted. Victims of abuse often do not come forward about it, said Rep. Genise Montecillo, and even if they do, they often face skepticism from the rest of the family.
“A lucky child is a child that has one parent that will believe them. But that’s rare,” said Montecillo, a Democrat from St. Louis. “The reality is, oftentimes, the parents don’t support them and don’t believe them.”
Rep. Lauren Arthur, a Kansas City Democrat, said it was wrong for the government to insert itself into family decisions.
Miller said minors can still circumvent parental consent with a court order.