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Doctors Support Abortion Ban

August 30, 1999
By: Rika Kanaoka
State Capital Bureau
Links: HB 427

JEFFERSON CITY - A group of physicians from across the state held a news conference in the statehouse Monday to call for the legislature to override the governor's veto of a bill to ban partial-birth abortions.

"There is never, ever medical necessity for the partial abortion," said Dr. Robert Ferris, an OBGYN specialist at St. Mary's Health Center in Jefferson City.

Ferris said that the partial abortion procedure is a dangerous and "primitive way" that was introduced 45 years ago, at a time when safer methods were not available.

Mary Deeken, a pediatrician in Jefferson City, added that the pain on fetus should also be considered.

"Twenty-two-week-old babies have already capacities to feel pain," said Mary Deeken, M.D. "I think any living beings should be protected from unnecessary pain. I don't think pain is something that has to be gone through if it's not necessary."

The ban on partial-birth abortion passed the legislature earlier this spring by overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate. It was vetoed by Gov. Mel Carnahan.

Carnahan attacked the bill for not including an exemption from the ban for cases involving the mother's health.

The bill is expected to be the top issue when lawmakers convene Sept. 15 to consider bills vetoed by the governor.

Two years ago, the governor's veto of a similar bill narrowly was upheld by the Senate.

The governor's spokesperson, Jerry Nachtigal, said they do not know of any recent instance in which a partial-birth abortion has been performed in Missouri. However, he said that exceptions should be included if necessary to save a mother's life.