Missouri House approves bill for health coverage studies made controversial by abortion amendment
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Missouri House approves bill for health coverage studies made controversial by abortion amendment

Date: April 18, 2012
By: Cole Karr
State Capitol Bureau
Links: HB 1890

JEFFERSON CITY - A Republican amendment added to a House-approved bill would increase medical malpractice insurance for doctors providing certain abortion services. 

The amendment, proposed by Rep. Andrew Koenig, R-St. Louis County, was approved 105-40 and would require doctors providing abortion-inducing drugs, such as mifepristone, to purchase between $1 and $3 million in medical malpractice insurance. It would also classify violations of this law as a Class D felony.

Prior to the amendment, the bill's original intent would only have been to require the Oversight Division of the Joint Committee on Legislative Research to analyze the fiscal impact of mandating coverage for treating cancer, eating disorders and infertility to health plans.

During the House debate, Rep. Tishaura Jones, D-St. Louis City, called the amendment "out of scope" and "shameful," saying the amendment's purpose did not align with the bill.

Jones said the bill, overall, would do a study to investigate the the impact of adding the components to health insurance coverage before taking action.

"Since we can't overturn Roe v. Wade, since the Supreme Court won't do it, then of course the state legislatures are going to introduce bills year after year after year to make it more difficult for a woman to make choices related to her body," Jones said.

Koenig said he thought his amendment to the bill was appropriate given the insurance aspect of the bill.

"Since this was underneath the same title — it's dealing with insurance and my amendment deals with insurance — I thought it was a good vehicle to attach that amendment because it's dealing with the same subject," Koenig said.

Rep. Mike Colona, D-St. Louis City, argued the measure would make it more difficult to provide this type of abortion service. During the debate, Colona asked Koenig if he "disagreed with a woman's right to choose."

In response, Koenig said his amendment had nothing to do with that, "but yes I do disagree with that."

Koenig is also sponsoring another bill, which would only allow a physician prescribing an abortion-inducing drug to administer the drug in a medical facility. The House approved that bill on Tuesday, 116-34.

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