JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – More than a week after its perfection, HB 1370 from Rep. Rocky Miller, R-Lake Ozark, had its chance on the House floor.
The bill would require a parent giving consent their minor child to have an abortion to inform in writing any other custodial parent of the minor of the decision to have an abortion, prior to the parent giving written consent to the minor.
The bill passed easily 121-34 with a handful of Democrats voting ‘yes’ on the measure.
During perfection, Miller spoke personally about his own family’s situation that prompted him to submit this bill. His daughter had a pregnancy during high school, and after consulting with both of her parents, she decided not to get an abortion. Miller said the bill was designed to enable conversations between parents and their children about serious life decisions.
“I just want to make completely sure that what we’re trying to do here is to start a conversation, not start a fight,” he said. “If the other parent is a bad actor, there’s no stiff penalty in this bill. I know there’s other families out there in other situations, but I have tried to make this bill as easy on everyone. I don’t want to stop anything. I want to start a conversation among good actors.”
The bill also has provisions that a parent does not need to be informed if they are guilty of certain offenses, especially if they are abusive, on the Sex Offender Registry, or has a restraining order against them. Despite those provisions, most Democrats opposed the legislation.
Rep. Lauren Arthur, D-Kansas City, offered an amendment during perfection last week that would make the bill apply to all medical decisions, not just abortions.
“I find it somewhat ironic that the party of small government is trying to regulate conversation among family members in one of the most private matters nonetheless,” she said. “If we’re going to force the conversation, we might as well make it an honest and open conversation in all directions. We might as well make it extensive.”
It was found not to be germane.
Rep. Stacey Newman, one of the staunchest abortion rights advocates in the House, said the bill was narrowly tailored for families that contained no problems, essentially calling it fantasy legislation.
“We all know in this body that everyone has two ideal parents,” she said. “We also know everyone prospers, everyone is well educated, comfortable. No one is ever in danger. Everyone is happy and kids are loved… This bill sponsor knows full well this is not reality. I know of no zipcode in this state where they have these perfect families.”
Rep. Anne Zerr, R-St. Charles, struck back that she supported the bill.
“I was from one of those non-perfect families,” she said. “There was physical abuse, there was sexual abuse. I got out of that, and I am pro-life.”