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Special Session Begins

The Missouri Legislature began its special session today called by Governor Matt Blunt to pass additional abortion limits and fix several new laws. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

House Speaker Rod Jetton presided over the session today at noon.

The session lasted only about five minutes, long enough for two of the abortion bills to be introduced.

Although the legislature has strong anti-abortion majorities in both houses, lawmakers did not pass stronger abortion limits during the regular session.

The breakdown came over concerns by Blunt and others that some language in what some called a far-reaching bill would have limited early stem cell research.

Blunt limited the scope of the special session to a few specific abortion provisions that don't deal with stem cells.

Lawmakers are expected to move on a bill that gives parents the option to sue anyone who helps their underage daughter circumvent Missouri's parental consent law and seek an abortion in another state.

Abortion rights supporters and thousands of private citizens had sent the governor postcards urging him to focus on preventing abortions through family planning rather than call a special session and place more restrictions on abortion providers.

Democratic Senator Joan Bray says family planning is the key to preventing abortions, not limiting access.

A House committee will take testimony later today on the anti-abortion bill.

It's not expected to come before the full House for debate until later this week or next week.

Also during the special session, lawmakers are expected to make technical corrections to several other bills that recently became law.