Bill restricting abortion-inducing drug causes controversy

Opponents of the bill said it is offensive toward women and needlessly political.

A hearing for House Bill 328 establishing the Abortion-inducing Drug Safety Act caused controversy in the Missouri House of Representatives on Wednesday.

The bill, sponsored by State Rep. Andrew Koenig, R-Ballwin, is meant to protect women who are receiving the abortion-inducing drug RU-486, also known as Mifepristone.

The main purpose of the bill is to outline how to properly prescribe and administer the drug. According to Koenig, most of the bill reaffirms current abortion laws.

“Currently, if you have an abortion you need informed consent, you can’t have someone under 18 going in to get an abortion without parental consent, you have to have a 24-hour waiting period,” Koenig said.

Koenig claims the new laws would just increase the amount of information physicians are required to give women before the procedure.

Both Planned Parenthood and State Rep. Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis, think the bill is problematic.

One of the clauses of the bill mandates physicians do all of the pre-abortion tests, such as ultrasounds, taking blood pressure and blood work.

Planned Parenthood representative Michelle Trupiano said that under current law, a qualified professional such as a nurse, nurse practitioner, social worker or licensed psychologist can do these procedures.

“There’s no health indication reason why a physician would have to be the one doing an ultrasound when another qualified person can do it,” Trupiano said.

Another clause Trupiano finds problematic is one requiring a warning to be read before the drug is administered.

“This warning is clearly meant to scare the woman and to try and talk her into not having an abortion, and there is absolutely no medical reason to give this warning,” Trupiano said.

Newman thinks the bill is offensive to women.

“I just take offense at political statements that are really affecting women’s real lives and are hurting women by adding these additional restrictions that the state legislator has no business getting themselves involved in,” Newman said.

Newman said if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved drug is induced in a hospital by licensed doctors, then there is no need to create further legislation regarding this drug.

Koenig said the law protects women by giving them more information beforehand.

He also said that according to a study done by the New England Journal of Medicine, 23 percent of women who took RU-486 needed surgical intervention afterwards.

“I would say information given to women probably would persuade them to have alternatives, because I think that when women get the right information, more often than not, they’ll choose not to have the procedure because of what’s happening to the child,” Koenig said.

If passed, the bill will take effect Aug. 28.

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