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First Round Approval Comes for a Ban on Partial Birth Abortion

April 1, 1998
By: Missy Shelton
State Capital Bureau

By a vote great enough to over-ride a governor's veto, the Missouri House gave first-round approval to a measure that bans partial birth abortion but has no exception for the mother's health, just like the bill the governor vetoed last year.

Missy Shelton has more from Jefferson City.

Story:Missy Shelton
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Federal courts in other states have thrown out legislation similar to the partial birth abortion bill in the Missouri House.

The courts have said the measures are unconstitutional because they lack an exception for the health of the mother.

Tim Harlan, a Democrat from Columbia, said he thinks the legislature needs to consider that.

Actuality:Tim Harlan
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Contents: [217K WAV file - Tim Harlan] Tim Harlan said it does not use medical terms. He doesn't think that's an accident. The courts are aware of it. He's concerned when the chamber says, 'I'm not a lawyer, it doesn't matter.' The fact they're not lawyers doesn't make any difference to the courts.

The measure faces another vote before it goes to the Senate.

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A ban on partial birth abortion receives first round approval from the Missouri House with a vote high enough to over ride a veto from the governor even though there's no exception for the mother's health.

Missy Shelton has details from Jefferson City.

Story:Missy Shelton
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Joan Bray, a Democrat from St Louis County, presented an amendment that would have allowed doctors to perform partial birth abortions if the health of the mother was at risk.

But the House rejected the amendment.

The lack of this health provision in last year's bill prompted the governor's veto.

Bill Luetkenhaus is sponsoring the measure and said he opposed the amendment.

Actuality:Luetkenhaus
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Contents: [137K WAV file - Bill Luetkenhaus] Bill Luetkenhaus said the American Medical Association has said in their official position they're opposed to this proceedure because it's never necessary except to save the life of the mother.

The House must vote on the measure again before it goes to the Senate.

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Opponents sited several reasons for voting against the bill that's very similar to the one vetoed by the governor last year.

Tim Harlan said he believed the courts would call the bill unconstitutional because there is no exception for the mother's health.

Kate Hollingsworth said she wanted to see clearer language that could not be misunderstood by doctors and courts.

Bill Luetkenhaus is the sponsor of the bill.

Actuality:Bill Luetkenhaus
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Contents: [33K WAV file - Bill Luetkenhaus] Bill Luetkenhaus said he disagrees that we should be killing babies by sucking their brains out.

The House votes on the measure one more time before sending it to the Senate.

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