The Missouri House of Representatives is pushing forward legislation to amend its state constitution to “protect pregnant women and unborn children by recognizing that an unborn child is a person with a right to life which cannot be deprived by state or private action without due process and equal protection of law.”
This is another of the so-called personhood amendments that have cropped up across the country, and although Missouri lawmakers have expressed some disagreement as to what impact such an amendment would have in the state, most rational people agree it would outlaw abortion, even in cases of rape or when the life of the mother is at risk. And while there’s some speculation about the matter, there’s a case to be made that it would outlaw contraception as well. But one lawmaker sees a silver lining in all this anyway.
As State Rep. Lauren Arthur (D-Kansas City) puts it:
‘This bill doesn’t just take the issue over the edge of the cliff. It rockets the issue into outer space.’
Rep. Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City) proudly proclaims that it “puts Missouri in the position to be the most pro-life state in the country.”
But that already seems to be the case in Missouri, which is one of 22 states that impose nearly impossible restrictions on clinics that provide abortions under draconian TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws. And in Missouri this same legislation has reduced the number of abortion providers for the entire state to one.
Such laws seek to ban abortions in effect by circumventing Roe v. Wade, but the personhood amendment could do much more than that. In fact, during the debate in the House, Rep. Mike Moon (R-Ash Grove), who sponsored the bill, claimed that a personhood amendment might force the Supreme Court to reconsider the historic Roe v. Wade decision.
But that wasn’t, believe it or not, the most surprising thing said during the discussion. That prize goes to Rep. Tila Hubrecht (R-Dexter) who doesn’t think rape victims should be allowed access to abortions:
‘It is not up to us to say no just because there was a rape, they cannot exist. Sometimes bad things happen — horrible things, but sometimes God can give us a silver lining through the birth of a child.’
Hubrecht went on to say:
‘When God gives life, he does so because there’s a reason, no matter what. I’ve met and talked with the different people who have been conceived by rape. There is a reason for their life.’
Maybe there’s no point in talking about issues like abortion with people who hold extremist positions. Logic, facts, and history all tend to go out the window when faced with someone who will, in a public forum, suggest that God gives “gifts” through rape.
But there is this to consider, too. Access to legal, safe abortions exists in this country because of what happens to women’s health when such procedures are not legal and safe. And contrary to the opinions of some, the Supreme Court did not invent abortion in 1973. The question isn’t one of metaphysics or even morality but rather one of women’s rights.
Listen to the audio below, compliments of Progress Missouri. Hubrecht chimes in with her remarks around 1:20.