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Final week in the Senate: Wednesday, May 15

During the last week of the session, The Missouri Times will bring you updates of all floor activity of each chamber. Below is all the floor activity in the Senate beginning on Wednesday, May 15. For live updates on the House, click here.

HB 126, prohibiting abortion, passes 24-10

Just before 4 a.m., the Senate gaveled back into session and passed HB 126 along party lines, 24-10. The bill bans abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy.

The legislation will now go back to the House before it can advance further.

Senate gavels back into session

After nearly 12 hours, the Senate came back from recess.

The Senate went into recess at 4 p.m., with Republican lawmakers caucusing behind closed doors. 

Filibuster ends after four hours

Shortly before 4 p.m., Sens. Jill Schupp and Lauren Arthur, who kicked off the filibuster, ended the inquiry. The filibuster lasted for about four hours.

The Senate moved to House bills for third reading on the informal calendar. 

Nasheed accuses Republicans of pandering

As she joined the filibuster, Sen. Jamilah Nasheed didn’t waste any time taking shots at Republicans and President Donald Trump. She accused GOP lawmakers of “pandering” to voters instead of really caring about whether abortion is right or wrong.

“This isn’t about religion or what you believe. This is about pandering to your base. This is what’s trending today,” Nasheed said.

“Now they’ve got this goofball in the White House, and now they’re pandering to him. They’re pandering to this goofball,” she continued.

Sen. Scott Sifton also joined his colleague in lambasting the president. He noted former Republicans Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush “brought the Soviet Union to its knees.”

“Who is this president bringing to its knees?” he said.

“Some girl probably,” Nasheed responded.

May makes the case against the bill citing her faith

Sen. Karla May joined the filibuster against the abortion bill, often citing her faith as the catalyst behind her opposition.

“One thing God never did in the Bible was eliminate your choice. He said there was good and evil. He never took away your choice,” May said during a floor conversation. “He gave you the free will to choose. You already know what’s right and wrong and you’re going to be held accountable on judgment day.”

May also acknowledged the “very strong females” who have been able to birth children after a traumatic experience such as rape.

“When you talk about people being able to do things, having the fortitude and wherewithal to bring forth a child conceived in hate and to love that child, don’t talk to me about what can’t be done. The thing is, am I the one to tell you what you can and can’t do? Or do I talk to you about someone who can; do I talk to you about a savior?” she said.

Republican senator dismisses call for compromise 

Sen. Bill Eigel, a Republican, dismissed rumors of a compromise to end the filibuster.

“There were no compromises offered on corporate welfare bills yesterday,” Eigel said in a tweet. “I don’t know why we would start compromising on the defense of life.”

Sen. Bob Onder, also a member of the Conservative Caucus, called on the Senate’s Republican leadership to “stop Democrats from obstructing” the bill “with this silly procedural stunt.”

Williams points to high maternal, infant mortality rate 

As the filibuster continued, Democratic Sens. Scott Sifton and Brian Williams discussed high mortality rates in the U.S. — and Missouri specifically — for infants and pregnant mothers. Williams also noted the rate is higher among women of color.

According to statistics from the United Health Foundation, Missouri ranked 41st in terms of maternal mortality in 2018 and has increased since 2016 to an average of 32.6 deaths per 100,000 live births. Infant mortality has slightly decreased, however, from 6.6 to 6.3 deaths per 1,000 live births, according to the foundation.

“This is not a conversation or engagement around telling someone what they can or cannot do. This is a conversation around giving someone the option to do what they feel is best for their body and their life,” Williams said.

Democrats open conversation on abortion 

Ahead of an expected debate over a sweeping anti-abortion bill in the Senate, Democratic Sens. Lauren Arthur and Jill Schupp began the discussion, specifically decrying a lack of exemptions or protections from women and young girls who are raped or raped by incest.

“This is an unconscionable use of our power as a legislature that will have negative repercussions” for young girls, Schupp said.

Arthur called the bill “extreme” and pointed to new justices appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court during the current Republican administration. “Elections have consequences,” she said.

The Senate is expected to bring up HB 126. Approved by the lower chamber in February, the strict bill — championed by Rep. Nick Schroer — prohibits abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected — as long as Roe v. Wade is not overturned. Should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn the landmark decision, abortion would be illegal in Missouri unless in an emergency.

The Senate counterpart, SB 279, was brought to the floor earlier this month, but the body ultimately stalled on it after several hours of debate.

Several members of the House came to the Senate chamber during the early hours of debate, including House Speaker Elijah Haahr and Schroer.

Senate gavels in at 11:40

The legislative day officially got underway at 11:40 a.m. with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.