Missouri Right to Life
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Jefferson City, MO 65102
Phone 573-635-5110
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Education, legislating, and activating citizens in the cause of life

 

TESTIMONY OF MISSOURI RIGHT TO LIFE
IN SUPPORT OF HB 112

April 4, 2017


This testimony in support of HB112 is prepared on behalf of Missouri Right to Life by Gerard Nieters, Legislative Director of Missouri Right to Life and co-counsel of its amicus brief filed in the McQueen v. Gadberry case.  Testimony presented by Susan Klein, Legislative Liaison of Missouri Right to Life.

As I am sure you are all aware, no greater love exists than that of a mother for her child.  Ms. Jalesia McQueen is making a plea for her child(ren). 

Missouri’s longstanding position has been in support of life from the moment of conception.

Missouri statute section 1.205.1 reads:

The general assembly of this state finds that:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
(1) The life of each human being begins at conception;
(2) Unborn children have protectable interests in life, health, and well-being;
(3) The natural parents of unborn children have protectable interests in the life, health, and well- being of their unborn child.

2.  Effective January 1, 1988, the laws of this state shall be interpreted and construed to acknowledge on behalf of the unborn child at every stage of development, all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of this state, subject only to the Constitution of the United States, and decisional interpretations thereof by the United States Supreme Court and specific provisions to the contrary in the statutes and constitution of this state. 

3. As used in this section, the term "unborn children" or "unborn child" shall include all unborn child or children or the offspring of human beings from the moment of conception until birth at every stage of biological development. 

Section 1.205 has been cited by Missouri courts to allow wrongful death actions and to uphold fetal homicide laws of unborn babies without regard to gestation. Certainly, the same statute supports Ms. McQueen’s position in favor of life in her battle for custody of her embryos which were created with her ex-husband.

However, the trial court and appellate courts declared that the embryonic children “are not minor children as defined in RSMo. 452” which is the statute section dealing with custody of children in divorce proceedings. This is despite the fact that the trial court initially found it necessary to appoint a Guardian Ad Litem tasked with the duty to determine the best interests of the embryos. I encourage you to read the full amicus brief submitted by MRL in the McQueen v. Gadberry case for a much more in depth and thorough argument as to why Missouri law supports life for IVF embryos.

Since the courts can’t seem to follow Missouri law as it is, Missouri law needs to be more specific than it currently is. HB 112 provides that specificity and clarity.  Missouri Right to Life urges passage of HB 112.

 

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