JEFFERSON CITY -Missouri's male dominated House was told personal stories of rape from two of their female colleagues before passing legislation placing new restrictions on aborting providers.
The legislation passed Missouri's lower chamber by an overwhelming 113-37 margin. Abortion providers would be required to give patients information such as the doctor's name, alternatives to the abortion and places where the patient could receive an ultrasound. The bill would also make it a crime to coerce someone into having an abortion and require abortion providers to contact a prosecuting attorney before performing an abortion on a patient under the age of 18.
Rep. Jeanie Riddle, R-Mokane, recounted the story of a childhood friend who was raped by the girl's biological father. The friend was impregnated more than once, Riddle said, and then taken to have the pregnancy aborted.
"She thought when she got there finally, someone will see what's happening to me and this will stop, Riddle said. "What her father coerced her into saying, manipulated her into saying, was that she had been to a party and a boy had gotten her pregnant. They believed her because she was fearful of her father, the abuser, the rapist, gave her an abortion and sent her back home so he could continue the abuse. And that's something that happens. "
St. Louis Democratic Rep. Stacey Newman, spoke of her experience as a victim of date rape and the consequences the current legislation .
"If this bill became law when I was in this situation I would have been deemed incompetent, by the state, to make my own reproductive health choices had I become pregnant. And I find that greatly insulting," Newman said. "It's clear this is a political statement, with this bill being heard today on the floor."
The bill passed by the House was a combination of two bills, one sponsored by Rep. Bryan Pratt, R-Jackson County and another sponsored by Rep. Cynthia Davis, R-O' Fallon.
Davis described the provision requiring doctors to contact a prosecuting attorney and to keep a tissue sample for DNA testing as an "enhancement" over similar legislation introduced during the last two legislative sessions. The DNA samples would provide "air-tight" evidence, Davis said, for the prosecution of cases in which children were victims of rape.
Rep. Jill Schupp, R-St. Louis County, however, questioned having the provision apply to women from ages 14-18.
"Just because a young girl has sex with a young man does not mean he or she is a criminal," Schupp said.
The 113 yea votes included 30 Democrats, while 36 Democrats and one Republican, Rep. Maynard Wallace, R-Thornfield voted against the bill
Columbia area Democrats Chris Kelly and Mary Still both voted in opposition to the bill.
Still said she saw the legislation as an attempt to "intimidate and bully women."
"He might as well say let's hang these women up by their heels for an hour before this procedure begins," Still said referring to Pratt.
Earlier, Pratt said that "if you vote against this bill you are protecting rapists."
Kelly, during his comments, questioned the rhetoric and tone of the debate as well as the constitutionality of the legislation.
"I'm ashamed of the body today," Kelly said.
According to Davis, the bill will result in new dignity and respect for women.
"I believe this bill goes a long way to finding real answers, real solutions," she said. "Missouri women deserve better."