By Micaiah Bilger
Missouri state lawmakers moved a bill forward this week to strengthen a requirement that parents be informed before their young daughters have an abortion.
House Bill 2127, sponsored by state Rep. Tom Hurst, passed a Missouri House committee this week, Missourinet reports. The bill would stop abuses of the current law by prohibiting anyone from taking a minor across the state lines for an abortion without a parent’s consent. The penalty for violating the law would be a felony.
Currently, Missouri requires a girl under 18 to notify at least one parent prior to having an abortion, but it does not prohibit her or someone else from taking her to other states that do not require parental notification or consent for abortion.
Susan Klein of Missouri Right to Life told the news outlet that the bill could help protect victims of human trafficking.
“On the human trafficking issue, a side effect of that would be that if somebody is getting one of these minor girls pregnant and taking them across state lines, then they are evading law in several different areas,” Klein said.
However, Planned Parenthood and several pro-abortion legislators opposed the measure, claiming it could punish family members and friends for helping a pregnant girl, according to the report.
“This bill is singling out abortion and minors for a major escalation in state law, criminalizing a grandmother, an aunt or trusted adult who’s trying to help a minor who’s facing potential harm due to her pregnancy,” said M’Evie Mead of the Missouri Planned Parenthood affiliate.
The Missouri bill moves to the full state House for consideration.
Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life, previously has spoken about how these measures help protect vulnerable young girls from abuses.