South Dakota has done it. Mississippi is considering it. Now Missouri is the latest state to propose legislation banning nearly all abortions.
Republican State Senator Jason Crowell introduced the resolution yesterday. It would ban all abortions in Missouri, except when giving birth would put the mother's life at risk. If the legislature endorses it, voters would decide on the ban in November.
While the U.S. Supreme Court has spoken on the matter with Roe versus Wade, Crowell wants them to reconsider. He hopes a new state law will force a future showdown in the courts. Crowell says, "The only way in which to overturn a Supreme Court decision, is with a new Supreme Court opinion."
He adds, "This is about no longer playing on the fringes of abortion, and putting squarely before the Missouri voters, an up or down vote."
If voters approved the measure, it would be in conflict with existing constitutional law. St. Louis University law professor Roger Goldman says it will likely be struck down in state and federal courts, and he expects the U.S. Supreme Court would not agree to hear the case.
Goldman says, "I don't think the Supreme Court would take the case because, as I say, they have already decided that and the personnel of the court hasn't changed enough to change their mind."
Goldman believes the proposed legislation, even if approved, will likely never take effect. He says, "Of course, this is such a controversial issue, that it might be very good politics. But as far as constitutional law is concerned, it won't really have any effect there."
Representatives from Planned Parenthood confirmed they would take this matter to court. Alison Gee says, "We will fight this bill as we fight many of the other restrictive bills."
And even representatives from Missouri Right to Life aren't sure the timing is right to take the abortion issue back to the Supreme Court. Pam Manning says, "As we see it, we're just not certain that the justices are situated in such a way as to overturn it at this point."
Missouri Governor Matt Blunt, who describes himself as Pro-Life, says the bill is not necessary. He says it would just set up a court battle and he'd prefer to focus on legislation with less legal risk.