2005 Missouri Revised Statutes - § 1.205. — Life begins at conception--unborn child, defined--failure to provide prenatal care, no cause of action for.

1.205. 1. 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.

4. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as creating a cause of action against a woman for indirectly harming her unborn child by failing to properly care for herself or by failing to follow any particular program of prenatal care.

(L. 1986 H.B. 1596)

CROSS REFERENCE: Abortion regulations, Chap. 188, RSMo

(1989) Where section by its terms does not regulate abortions or any other aspect of appellees' medical practice, it can be read simply to express a value judgment. The extent to which the statute might be used to interpret other state statutes or regulations is something that only the courts of Missouri can definitely decide. U. S. Supreme Court declined to rule on the constitutionality of the section unless the meaning of the section is applied to restrict the activities of a claimant in some concrete way. Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, 109 S.Ct. 3040.

(1992) Definition of "person" in this section, which includes unborn children is applicable to other statutes and court concludes that it applies at least to the involuntary manslaughter statute, section 565.024, RSMo. State v. Knapp, 843 S.W.2d 345 (Mo. en banc).

(1995) Statute sets out a canon of interpretation enacted by general assembly directing that time of conception and not viability is the determinative point at which legally protectable rights, privileges and immunities of an unborn child should be deemed to begin. Statute further sets out the intention of the general assembly that courts should read all Missouri statutes in pari materia with this section. Connor v. Monkem Co., Inc., 898 S.W.2d 89 (Mo. en banc).

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