St. Louis Public Radio News
12:23 pm
Fri March 7, 2003

Bill Would Punish Those Who Help Minors Get Abortions

Jefferson City, Mo – The Missouri Senate Thursday approved a proposal that would let parents sue anyone who helps a minor daughter to have an abortion without their consent.

The bill could be used by parents to sue a boyfriend, school counselor or anyone else who provides money or transportation for a minor to get an abortion.

Senate sponsor John Louden of St. Louis says it's in response to Metro-East abortion providers.

"Illinois abortion clinics are actually marketing to Missouri teens," said Louden. "They're saying 'to heck with Missouri's law. Come over to Illinois and we'll help you violate Missouri's law and that parental relationship."

Opponents of the bill say it's more important to prevent pregnancies in the first place with family planning education. The bill faces another Senate vote before moving to the House.

Meanwhile on Thursday, Planned Parenthood said it would seek a permanent federal injunction to keep Missouri's late-term abortion law from taking effect.

A group spokeswoman says the abortion provider is likely to move forward in federal court, challenging the law's constitutionality.

The law took effect in 1999 when the Legislature voted to over-ride a governor's veto. Planned Parenthood won a temporary federal injunction.

But the federal court waited to decide on a permanent injunction until a separate lawsuit was decided in state courts.

In November, the state appeals court in St. Louis ruled the law improperly has no exception allowing doctors to perform late-term abortions to protect the mother's health.

And this week the state Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the decision.