UPDATE: Several members of the Conservative Caucus called an impromptu news conference Wednesday evening amid stalled negotions over an extensive abortion bill – HB 126.
Sen. Bob Onder, R- St. Charles County, led the conference by calling for Senate leadership to reconvene members of the chamber so they could vote on the measure.
“We need to get back into session, we need to bring up the bill,” Onder said. “It’s time to get it done.”
“Although our ears are of course always open, there comes a moment when negotiations have to end and action has to take place. That moment is now,” said Sen. Bill Eigel, R- St. Charles County.
Closed door negotiations over details of the bill reached an impass, Onder said at the roughly 9:30 p.m. conference.
Onder said the caucus wanted the bill to pass without any changes. Currently, the bill would not allow women whose pregnancies were caused by rape or incest to get an abortion.
“We believe that a second violent act does not fix a violent act. We don’t believe in the death penalty for the crime of the father of the baby,” Onder said.
ORIGINAL: Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and fellow Republicans backing what’s being called one of the most pro-life pieces of legislation in the country pushed for its passage Wednesday evening.
The measure, House Bill 126, is called the “Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act,” according to its sponsor, Rep. Nick Schroer, R- O’ Fallon. At the press conference held in Parson’s office, Schroer said the bill is “the most comprehensive, the strongest and most legally sound piece of legislation across the nation. It is not a mere heartbeat bill, it isn’t a bill that’s single subject. It is a bill that is all-encompassing.”
If passed, abortions would be prohibited after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which occurs about eights weeks after conception. If the eight week restriction is overturned then the restriction would be pushed back to according to a tiered system, Schroer said, pushing it to 14 weeks, then 18 weeks and then 20.
Shortly after the bill was introduced on the Senate floor Wednesday, Democrats stalled discussion of the bill for several hours.
Speaker of the House Elijah Haahr, R- Springfield said at the conference that the bill is not meant to inspire a challenge of Supreme Court precedent set in the 1970s.
“This is not a piece of legislation that was designed for a challenge (of Roe v. Wade). This is the type of legislation that was designed to withstand a challenge and actually save lives in our state,” Haahr said.
State Sen. Bob Onder said to the crowd that he does not want any aspect of the bill to change before sending it to Parson’s desk.
“In the Missouri Senate there are those who would obstruct a block, and block a vote on the Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act,” Onder said. “There are others who would weaken or dilute parts of the bill. We can’t let that happen, can we?”
Republicans hold majority in the Senate with 24 of the 34 members. As of 7:30 p.m., the Senate has yet to reconvene.