"While portions of MO HB126 are encouraging, as a future physician I feel the need to tell you that the frank attack on the medical profession written into this bill, if not overturned, will cause an exodus of practicing and future physicians from Missouri.
"The provision: "3. It shall be an affirmative defense for any person alleged to have violated the provisions of subsection 2 of this section that the person performed or induced an abortion because of a medical emergency. The defendant shall have the burden of persuasion that the defense is more probably true than not." Places an impossible task on the physician who performs a medically necessary abortion, because there may be a physician, uninvolved in the case, that could be found by the state as ignorant of the details of the case or spiteful enough of his own profession who could be willing to testify against the decision made by the defendant – regardless of its validity. The state, by placing a physician performing a medically necessary abortion in the category of a felon until proven innocent, places a man or woman, whose holy and moral duty is to the good of their patient, in a legal vice – requiring them to not only make the difficult decision to end a life for the good of another, but also to determine (without legal representation in the moment) if the decision is legally provable as correct. Note the difference between medically correct and legally correct, here. A physician must, prior to performing a necessary and life saving abortion, collect and prepare a case absolving themselves of the decision – as this bill holds them guilty until proven innocent. Not only is this unconstitutional, but is also disrespectful to a profession far older and wiser than the state of Missouri, or even the United States itself.
"While I appreciate the provisions which encourage alternatives to abortions, and would like to encourage your office to continue exploring public policy in that regard, you do not have the authority to place anyone – let alone a physician in the reasonable pursuit of their holy responsibility to the safety of their patient – in the category of a felon, while also placing the burden of proof upon their shoulders.
"I will not practice medicine in Missouri if the aforementioned language is retained and passed into enforceable law, which would damage me greatly because I grew up, have family, and am being trained all within this great state. Missouri needs to protect and encourage physicians so we can continue to minister to and heal your constituents. Language such as this is inexcusable, and I believe the medical community deserves it to be overturned, and an apology."
I don't agree with a lot of this bill, but I wanted to focus on this terrible provision. I'm hoping Missouri practicing physicians, other medical professionals, and medical-field students will all join me in making noise about this. We all deserve a presumption of innocence. We haven't devoted our lives to healing others to be rendered a criminal in the pursuit of the good of our patients. If you are willing to help out and write a letter, you can go to this link:
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