Physicians will have to meet with women seeking abortions three days before the procedure and Missouri’s attorney general will have the ability to enforce abortion laws under the bill headed to Gov. Eric Greitens on Tuesday.
The 22-9 Senate vote, which came after a Democratic filibuster, ended the second, prolonged special session of the summer. Supporters say the legislation, sponsored by Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester, will make clinics safer. Critics contend it will make it harder for women to obtain abortions.
Greitens is expected to sign the measure. He has not ruled out calling more special sessions, though senators from both parties, including the chamber’s Republican leader, indicated they’re growing wary of the legislative extra time in part because some have other jobs. And it’s been a pricey summer: The special sessions combined cost taxpayers more than $151,000.
Among other things, Koenig’s bill authorizes the state’s attorney general to overrule local prosecutors when it comes to abortion laws. It also requires annual, unannounced state inspections of abortion clinics; bars clinics from asking ambulances to silence their sirens or turn their lights off; mandates that pathologists do more tests of fetal tissue; and orders the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to report to the General Assembly how clinics are conducting abortions.
In addition, abortion-clinic staff can no longer be the ones meeting with a patient 72 hours before a procedure; it must be a doctor.