The Buzz

‘Personhood’ abortion amendment clears Missouri House committee

The Missouri Capitol is in Jefferson City
The Missouri Capitol is in Jefferson City

A Missouri House committee on Tuesday approved a “personhood” amendment to the state constitution that would grant the right to life for “unborn human children at every stage of biological development.”

Critics say the legislation, which if passed by lawmakers would have to be approved by voters, would make abortion illegal in Missouri. Its proponents disagree.

The bill, House Joint Resolution 98, was amended Tuesday to remove any exemptions for rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.

“All life is life, regardless of how it was conceived,” said Rep. Rick Brattin, a Harrisonville Republican.

Rep. Stacey Newman, a St. Louis County Democrat, called the proposal “extreme,” saying it “would be placing many women in danger.”

North Dakota voters in 2014 rejected a state constitutional amendment that would have declared “the inalienable right to life of every human being at every stage of development must be recognized and protected.” That same year, voters in Colorado rejected a similar proposal.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court in 2012 ruled that a proposal to grant “personhood” to human embryos would be an improper ban on abortion.

Voting in support of the Missouri proposal were Republicans Diane Franklin, Jim Neely, Nathan Beard, Brattin, Cloria Brown, Elaine Gannon, Marsha Haefner and Jeanie Lauer. Those in opposition were Democrats Sue Meredith, Newman and Charlie Norr.

With only a few weeks left before the legislative session adjourns for the year, passage of the bill is a long shot.

Jason Hancock: 573-634-3565, @J_Hancock