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Parson says doctors, not 'bureaucrats and attorneys', should decide what's life-threatening during pregnancy

Parson, who signed the nation's most restrictive abortion ban into law, now says attorneys should defer to patients and doctors on medical emergencies in pregnancy.

ST. LOUIS, Missouri — Three weeks after he signed a proclamation activating a ban on all abortion in Missouri, including in cases of rape and incest, Governor Mike Parson said doctors and patients — not bureaucrats and lawyers — should make medical decisions about complications during pregnancies.

Parson's recent signature extended action he took in 2019 when he signed the most restrictive abortion ban in the nation into law. However, now that doctors and hospital groups are expressing concern over their legal liability, Parson acknowledges the law may need clarification, though he is in no hurry to have that debate.

Democratic leaders in the House and Senate had called on Parson to call a special legislative session to clarify when doctors can begin caring for a pregnant mother with complications.

"No, not a special session, because you're talking about a complicated issue that's going to take time to figure out how to do this," Parson said. "Bureaucrats and attorneys don't need to be the ones deciding on what is life-threatening. Doctors need to have a seat at that table. And frankly, they're more qualified to be able to make that decision than anybody else."

"It's absolutely right," St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones responded. "That decision should be made between a woman and her doctor."

Missouri's House Democratic Floor Leader Crystal Quade said it's "nice to hear the Governor say bureaucrats shouldn't come between a patient and their health care provider, but he's about three years too late after signing extreme legislation into law that does the exact opposite."

Parson had previously said the state's Department of Health and Senior Services would provide guidance to hospitals on when their clinicians could provide health care to women in need, but when his administration finally released the one-page fact sheet, it said it could not make that determination.

RELATED: Missouri's answer to abortion law questions: don't ask us

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