One Missouri lawmaker is working to make it harder for women to get abortions, while simultaneously redefining what an abortion actually is. Mike Moon, a Republican Missouri state representative, has introduced a bill that would classify a fertilised egg as a "person" with constitutional rights. In doing so, police would be required to enforce the proposed law, which would essentially make abortion akin to murder.
According to The Guardian, Moon has dubbed the bill the “Right to Due Process Act.” He introduced it into the Missouri state legislature last month, but it was reportedly pre-filed back in December. The bill's text says that “law enforcement officers, officers of the court, and any licensed or state-regulated entities in the state shall affirmatively enforce” the bill’s provision barring abortion in the state. The worst-case scenarios of this playing out in real life would involve cops preventing people from getting abortions, or punishing anyone who does get an abortion, which would be considered murder under the proposed legislation.
One of Moon’s colleagues, state representative Ben Baker, told The Guardian that “the legal focus was right to be on conferring rights to fetuses.”
“The main thing for me, is understanding again — if it is a life and we believe it is a life then it should have rights just like the rest of us,” Baker said. “But how we go about that line of where we would forcefully deal with that situation — I think we have to take a lot of things into consideration.”
In 2017, Moon garnered national attention when he filmed himself beheading a chicken as a way of protesting against the Missouri governor’s refusal to ban abortion outright. Regardless, the state is certainly making some troubling progress on that front. Last year, Missouri nearly became the first state without a standalone abortion clinic since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. Rewire.News reports that Missouri’s health department has attempted to close the last abortion clinic in St. Louis by “using a vast web of anti-choice restrictions that are medically unnecessary and can be harmful to sexual assault survivors.”
Last August, a judge blocked a Missouri law that bans abortion at eight weeks’ gestation without any exceptions for rape or incest. It became yet another example of state legislatures across the country passing so-called heartbeat bills that place so many restrictions on abortion access that the procedure itself essentially becomes unattainable. With the 2020 presidential race heating up, candidates will be expected to address this growing trend and its potential impact on Roe v. Wade in the long term.