April 18, 2012 — The Missouri House on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to a bill (HB 1274) that would increase restrictions on medication abortion, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The bill received first-round approval in a 116-34 vote and would need to pass a second vote before moving to the Senate.
Under current Missouri law, women are required to wait 24 hours after consulting with a health care provider before an abortion. The bill would require a physician, not a nurse or other health care professional, to conduct a physical examination of the woman at least 24 hours before prescribing medication abortion drugs.
The bill also would require the prescribing physician to have clinical privileges at a nearby hospital, as well as privileges to intervene with surgery if necessary at a hospital or clinic where the drug was provided. The bill would require physicians who prescribe medication abortion drugs to have an extra medical malpractice insurance policy of at least $1 million per occurrence and $3 million annually for the injury or death of a child born after an attempted abortion.
Michelle Trupiano of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri said the requirements would be "extremely onerous." Trupiano said the organization's clinics use staff other than physicians to conduct initial consultations with patients and do not perform physical examinations prior to prescribing medication abortion drugs (Lieb, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 4/17).
Repro Health Watch — an exciting new edition of the Women’s Health Policy Report — compiles and distributes media coverage of proposed and enacted state laws and ballot initiatives affecting women's access to comprehensive reproductive health care, as well as litigation in response to those provisions.