Currently, Missouri's abortion law allows the abortion of a viable fetus only to preserve the life or health of the mother. A measure proposed Wednesday to the House Health Care Policy Committee, however, would further clarify the wording in the law.
The current law defines viability as "when the life of the unborn child may be continued indefinitely outside the womb by natural or artificial life-supportive systems."
If the committee supports the proposal sponsored by House Republican Leader Rep. Tim Jones, R-Eureka, it would then read, "when a reasonable likelihood the life of the unborn child can be sustained outside the mother's womb with or without official support."
The new measure would also affect medical emergencies that require termination of a fetus. A second physician, unrelated to the patient or first doctor, would be required to declare medical emergency and to be present for the procedure.
Should Missouri tighten these definitions under the current law? Do other reforms need to be made? If so, what?