Missouri ‘Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act’ (HB 339)
This law was last updated on Jun 13, 2019
HB 339 would prohibit a person from performing or inducing an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy unless it is necessary to prevent serious health risk to the pregnant patient.
Specifically, the bill prohibits an abortion when a fetus has reached the “pain-capable gestational age,” which the bill defines to mean:
“[…]twenty-two weeks since the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period, generally consistent with the time that is twenty weeks after fertilization.”
The bill would require the physician performing or inducing the abortion to first make a determination of the probable gestational age of the fetus, except in the case of a medical emergency.
No person may perform or induce, or attempt to perform or induce, an abortion if it has been determined by the physician, or by another physician upon whose determination that physician relies, that the probable gestational age of the fetus has reached the pain capable gestational age, unless the patient has a condition that so complicates their medical condition as to necessitate the abortion to avert their death or to avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, not including psychological or emotional conditions.
If an abortion is necessary, the physician would be required to terminate the pregnancy in the manner which, in reasonable medical judgment, provides the best opportunity for the fetus to survive unless, in reasonable medical judgment, termination of the pregnancy in that manner would pose a greater risk either of the death of the pregnant patient or of the substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the patient.
Any physician who performs or induces an abortion would need to report to the department the following information:
- The probable gestational age. If a determination was made, whether ultrasound was employed, and the week of probable gestational age determined. If no determination was made, the basis of determination that a medical emergency existed;
- Which method of abortion was employed;
- If the fetus was deemed capable of feeling pain, the basis of determination that termination of the pregnancy was still necessary in order to avert serious health risk to the patient; and
- If the fetus was deemed capable of feeling pain; whether the method of abortion used was one that provided the best opportunity for the fetus to survive.
The reports would be maintained in strict confidence by the department, and would not be available for public inspection.
The department would be required to release an annual statistical report based on all the compiled reports from the previous year.
Any physician or other licensed medical practitioner who intentionally or recklessly performs or induces an abortion in violation of this section would be considered to have acted outside the scope of practice permitted by law or otherwise in breach of the standard of care owed to patients and would be subject to discipline from the applicable licensure board for such conduct including, but not limited to, loss of professional license to practice.
Based on model legislation drafted by the National Right to Life Committee.
Identical to HB 1266, which failed to pass during the 2018 legislative session.
12/19/18 – Prefiled.
1/9/19 – Introduced; first reading.
2/19/19 – Passed committee.
- National Right to Life Committee — Drafted Model Law