The bill, HCS HB 28
, first came before the state legislature as a so-called "conscience clause" bill, which would permit pharmacists with an ethical objection to abortion or contraception to refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control or emergency contraception, which is a non-abortive method of preventing pregnancy after unprotected sex.
The bill was "perfected with amendments" by a voice vote on the floor today
The amendments place restrictions on women obtaining non-surgical
abortions by taking mifepristone, also known as RU-486. That drug induces abortion when a woman takes one dose orally, followed by a second one 24 to 48 hours later.
The new wording of the bill would require women to undergo a
physical exam 24 hours before the first dose and would require them to
take both the first and second dose at the abortion facility or
hospital. That's three visits instead of the one it currently takes.
RU-486 is used for abortion in an off-label manner. That means that,
like many drugs taken every year, it's FDA-approved for other uses --
such as to induce expulsion of a fetus that died naturally in utero --
and not for abortion. But it's been used to facilitate abortions since its
approval in 2000.
The changed language of the bill would require
physicians administering the abortion pill to women to warn them, both
in writing and orally, that the medication is being used in an off-label
manner, using specific language:
"The drug or drugs that will be
given to you to induce an abortion HAVE NOT been approved by the United
States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the drug manufacturer to
be used in this manner. There is risk to you and your unborn child if
you take any of these drugs. Please strongly consider other alternatives
to abortion before you take any of these drugs."
The approved changes have not yet been scheduled for a hearing, but we'll keep you posted.
Today in Jefferson City, Missouri representatives added language to a bill that places more hurdles in front of women seeking legal abortions, in addition to fettering their access to emergency contraception.