With a knife in one hand and a chicken's head in the other, Rep. Mike Moon was ready to make a point about an anti-abortion action call from Gov. Eric Greitens.
In a video posted to Facebook, Rep. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, explains that he was "right in the middle of my summer job" when Greitens, a fellow Republican, called a second extraordinary legislative session.
Greitens has repeatedly criticized "career politicians" since stepping onto the political scene and in a recent Springfield rally, he characterized his special summer session as an end to lawmakers' "vacations."
"Like any good career politician, when I get the call, I'm going back to work," Moon said as he decapitated the chicken.
But back to the dead chicken, which Moon dismembered while talking about his beliefs.
"God gaveth man dominion over life," Moon says in the video. "He allows us to raise animals properly and care for 'em and then process 'em for food so we can sustain life. That's what I'm gonna do with this chicken."
The video jumps ahead, showing Moon pulling out the fowl's insides.
"We've been called back for this special session for the primary purpose of supporting life, protecting the unborn specifically," he said.
He reaches into the bird and pulls out an organ.
"I think we need to get to the heart of the matter here," he said. "So today, I'm filing a bill that will lead to the stopping of abortion in the state of Missouri, and I hope you'll support it."
Moon's bill, christened the "Missouri Right to Life Act," would revise a statutory message of intent on abortion, which Greitens cited in his call for the second special session.
Moon's legislation would emphasize that Missouri lawmakers intend to "protect the right to life of all humans, born and unborn ... and to require due process of law before the life of any human, born or unborn, is ended prior to natural death."
Moon's video prompted the National Abortion Rights Action League to criticize him, saying that Moon was "(playing) political games with women's reproductive health care."
"It was insulting watching Rep. Moon use the rights of women across Missouri as some kind of political prop," NARAL said in a fundraising email. "His call to ban abortion is disturbing and dangerous, no matter what he does with that chicken."
When Moon woke up on his farm in Ash Grove on Monday morning, he didn't plan on posting a video of himself killing a chicken while voicing opposition to abortion.
The video, which is making the rounds across the internet and around the country, shows Moon decapitating and disemboweling a chicken while voicing support for the end of abortion in Missouri.
In an interview with the News-Leader, Moon said he doesn't understand how people could infer that he was making a comparison between terminating a fetus and butchering a bird.
Moon seemed surprised by the outcry from people who hold opposing views on abortion, were upset that he killed a live chicken on camera or both.
"It wasn't intended to promote animal cruelty," he said of the video.
He said he had tried to respond a few critics on Facebook and added "it's almost a waste of time."
Groups such as the National Abortion Rights Action League says Moon's video "got our feathers ruffled" and says the third-term Republican representative "has gotten pretty cocky when it comes to introducing bills that have nothing to do with helping the people he represents and everything to do with pushing his extreme ideological agenda."
Moon said he woke up at about 6 a.m. Monday, saw to his cattle and set about butchering some chickens he recently purchased. He was minding his farm while contemplating the special session called by Gov. Eric Greitens to enact anti-abortion measures.
After butchering 20 or so chickens, Moon said, his thoughts turned to Greitens' characterization of lawmakers as "third-graders" and of special session as "summer school."
That was frustrating to Moon, a part-time lawmaker and full-time farmer.
"(Greitens) has the audacity to say that we're career politicians ... He's not helping himself very much," Moon said.
Moon acknowledged that he was trying to convey a message about abortion: in his mind, his fellow Republicans have not been willing to take a "hard vote" on banning abortion.
When Moon grabbed the chicken's heart — while talking about "getting to the heart of the matter" — that was his way of saying that regulating abortions to make sure they occur in clean facilities is not enough. He wants abortion to stop in Missouri and filed a bill to try and make that happen.
Moon's legislation to require due process would essentially require a pregnant woman or doctor to legally prove that it was necessary to terminate a pregnancy, he said.
"We do that (due process) with convicted felons of capital crimes," he said.
Moon brought up the recent case of a kitten killing in Branson and claimed that people were more outraged about the alleged animal abuse than about the ongoing practice of abortion. He also said that the birds he butchered were currently being frozen for future eating and were not killed for fun.
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