Mo. Governor says he will sign abortion bill; lawmaker clarifies remarks about ‘consensual rape’

MO Gov Mike Parson to sign 'Unborn Act' abortion bill

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KFVS/AP) - Missouri’s governor held a press conference on Friday regarding this legislative session

Regarding the abortion bill, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said if legislators send the bill to his desk he will sign it.

“I believe in pro-life and I will sign the bill,” said Parson at a press conference on Friday afternoon.

BREAKING: Governor Parson holds press conference to recap the 2019 legislative session. Says he will sign abortion bill http://bit.ly/2JmASCE

Posted by KFVS-TV on Friday, May 17, 2019

Missouri’s Republican-led Legislature approved the ban on abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy.

House lawmakers gave the sweeping abortion bill final approval on Friday, May 17 by a vote of 110-44.

The proposed ban allows exceptions only in medical emergencies, not cases of rape or incest.

The Missouri legislation comes after Alabama’s governor signed a bill Wednesday making performing an abortion a felony in nearly all cases.

Republican-led legislatures around the U.S. are imposing new abortion restrictions, hoping more conservative justices will overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion.

Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia have approved bans on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur in about the sixth week of pregnancy.

On Wednesday, Gov. Parson called for the bill to pass, saying: “It’s time to make Missouri the most pro-life state in the country.”

A Missouri state lawmaker was met with hisses when he used the phrase “consensual rape” during the highly charged House debate on the bill.

Republican Rep. Barry Hovis, of Cape Girardeau, said in the chamber Friday that most of the sexual assaults he handled before retiring from law enforcement weren’t strangers “jumping out of the bushes” but instead “date rapes or consensual rapes.”

Abortion-rights supporters who attended the debate hissed in response.

St. Louis-area Democratic Rep. Raychel Proudie later assured the House that “there is no such thing as consensual rape.”

MO lawmaker speaks about controversial comment

Hovis wanted to clarify that he knows there is no such thing as consensual rape and he said he does not discredit victims of sexual assault.

“Whenever I was in law enforcement I would take sexual assault reports from a victim,” he said. “I always believed what they were telling me when I took that report, but when you would go and start investigating the other side sometimes the suspect or the alleged perpetrator would have a different story and say 'look this was consensual I did not do this. We would always refer that to the prosecutor and ultimately a judge or a jury would find that. But by misspeaking, you know I apologize for that.”

Planned Parenthood condemned the abortion bill, calling it dangerous and extreme.

Planned Parenthood in Missouri issued the following statement:

“This legislative session has been an utter failure for Missourians," she said. "Politicians are putting the health and lives of Missouri women at risk in their race to make our state the one that overturns Roe v. Wade at the U.S. Supreme Court. These bans on safe, legal abortion will have real costs — expensive legal costs and human costs for those who need reproductive health care. At a time when maternal mortality is increasing in our state, we must be doing everything we can to increase access to health care — not cut it. And yet lawmakers have done the opposite. Governor Parson must show that Missourians’ health matters by rejecting this extreme abortion ban.”
M'Evie Mead, Director of policy and organizing for Planned Parenthood Advocates

Organization officials said the state is becoming part of a national trend of extreme politicians pushing abortion band in defiance of the American people.

Copyright 2019 KFVS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press also contributed to this story.