A Missouri Republican introduced a bill that would ban women from obtaining abortions out of state, The Washington Post reports.
State Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman introduced a bill modeled similarly to the near-total Texas abortion ban, except for out-of-state abortions.
The bill would allow private citizens to sue anyone who helps a Missouri resident obtain an abortion out of state.
The bill could punish anyone from hotline staffers who make appointments, marketers who promote out-of-state clinics, and doctors that handle the procedure.
The bill would also make it illegal to make, transport, possess, or distribute abortion pills in the state.
Coleman has attached her proposal as an amendment to multiple abortion-related bills that will be voted on by the state House.
Missouri already has extreme abortion restrictions in place, which have limited the state to a single operating abortion clinic that performs only 10 to 20 procedures per month.
“If your neighboring state doesn’t have pro-life protections, it minimizes the ability to protect the unborn in your state,” said Coleman.
Bill would face legal challenge:
The bill would certainly face legal challenges if passed.
Abortion rights advocates say the measure is unconstitutional because it would effectively create state laws that extend beyond its borders.
Olivia Cappello of Planned Parenthood called the proposal “bonkers” and “the most extraordinary provision we have ever seen.”
Abortion rights attorney Elizabeth Myers said states don’t have the power to make laws that affect other states.
“A state’s power is over its own citizens and its own geographical boundaries,” Myers said. “These are limits imposed by the federal constitution and federal law.”
The bill comes ahead of a Supreme Court decision that is widely expected to undermine the court’s Roe v. Wade precedent and restrict reproductive rights after former President Donald Trump packed the bench with anti-abortion judges. If the proposal succeeds, it could be copied in other states and make it more difficult for women in states that crack down on abortion to seek the procedure elsewhere.
Data in Texas already shows an 800% increase in women seeking abortions in nearby states.
California state Sen. Nancy Skinner has introduced a bill that would make California a “sanctuary” state for women seeking abortion access.
“We’ve got already half of states that have passed some kind of law to restrict or eliminate abortion access,” she said. “We definitely are and intend to be a national beacon for reproductive freedom and reproductive justice.”