Missouri legislators are, once again, trying to make sure that no one in Missouri can coerce a woman into an abortion. They are, however, fine with coercing a woman to carry a baby to term.
Pamela Merritt at RH Reality Check writes:
The legislation would create the crime of "coercing an abortion" if a woman has experienced threats of having a scholarship for higher education at a public or private institution revoked because she is pregnant; threats of employment discrimination or termination if she continues her pregnancy; stalking, assault or domestic assault. Many of the people with whom I discussed HCS HB 46 & 434 were initially supportive until they looked beneath the surface. The bill would make physicians and anyone assisting them criminals for helping women obtain an abortion "with knowledge" that the woman has been "coerced" and would prohibit the woman from consenting to an abortion as the "victim of a coerced abortion."
In other words, if you ever felt coerced to have an abortion (but, naturally, not if you felt coerced to carry a pregnancy to term), you can never, in the future, ever consent to having an abortion. Merritt explains:
Consider a woman who is pregnant as the result of rape who, with her doctor, decides that an abortion is the best course of action. Imagine that rape survivor also mentions to her doctor that her boyfriend agrees with her decision, but has been aggressive with her about it. With HB46, now the doctor must turn the situation over to the government which mandates that the doctor label that rape survivor a "victim of coerced abortion" who "lacks the consent required by law."
Merritt goes on to note that the situation is actually worse than even just that. The same people pushing to permanently restrict a woman's right to choose an abortion if a third-party deems her coerced are also pushing laws to make sure she can't get birth control or Plan B if the pharmacist morally objects and would criminalize the act of carrying a child to term if one is addicted to drugs or alcohol. Merrit says
I have to wonder if [the pregnancy criminalization bills] SB459 and SB 529 would open up the legislature to felony prosecution for committing the crime of "coercing and abortion" should the abortion restriction bill HCS HB 46 & 434 become law, because it threatens women with unemployment, incarceration and the potential loss of scholarships should they carry their pregnancy to term while addicted to drugs or alcohol.
God, if only we could lock those guys up.
Missouri Legislature: Coerced Pregnancy, Fine; Voluntary Abortion, No Way [RH Reality Check]