The Missouri General Assembly was back in session for the second time in the month since the session ended in May.
Gov. Eric Greitens called lawmakers back and made it no secret he wanted them to focus on pro-life issues that were not accomplished during the past four months.
State Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, said a conference call was held last week to determine if this issue warranted a special session.
Unlike the previous extraordinary session a few weeks ago, the legislation will begin in the Senate as a conglomeration of several other bills that failed to pass in the regular session.
“We agreed this was a time sensitive matter,” Schatz said. “The bill will originate in the Senate and we will perfect it and send it to the House.”
Schatz said one provision of the new bill will deal with abortion clinic inspections originally sponsored by Sen. Bob Onder last session.
The new bill also will include language regarding sanctuary city status and deny local control for cities trumping state law.
The Senate and House convened at 4 p.m. on Monday afternoon and it was unclear how long this special session would take.
It costs taxpayers on average $22,000 in per diem for lawmakers, meals, lodging and travel. Additional staff expenses are also accrued.
In his statement calling the special session, Greitens lists two abortion-related issues he wants to see the Legislature address.
“In the city of St. Louis, some of these pregnancy care centers are under attack,” Greitens said. “There’s a new city law making St. Louis an abortion sanctuary city where pregnancy care centers can’t work the way they’re supposed to. Politicians are trying to make it illegal, for example, for pro-life organizations to say that they just want to hire pro-life Missourians.”
The second abortion issue Greitens wants to see addressed is the overall safety in medical clinics where abortions are performed.
“I also believe that we should have common sense health and safety standards in all medical facilities,” Greitens said. “A court decision from earlier this year weakened our state’s health standards in abortion clinics. So, we’re also proposing some basic standards to keep Missourians safe.”
Some of those standards include requiring annual safety inspections at abortion clinics, and the clinics should have a plan for complications.
The governor is also proposing a fix that will stop abortion clinics from interfering with emergency responders.
“If a woman needs help, abortion clinics shouldn’t be able to tell an ambulance to come slowly, not use their lights and sirens, or to go around to the back gate, just because they are worried that an ambulance arriving might make their abortion clinic look bad,” Greitens said.