Missouri Legislature passes abortion ban at 8 weeks of pregnancy

Friday - 17/05/2019 13:33
Tough, new abortion laws in Alabama and several other states face legal battles in court... and that's the point. We explain how they take aim at Roe v. Wade. Just the FAQs, USA TODAY

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s Republican-led Legislature has approved a ban on abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy, and GOP Gov. Mike Parson is expected to sign it.

House lawmakers gave the sweeping abortion bill final approval Friday.

The proposed ban allows exceptions only in medical emergencies, not cases of rape or incest.

The Missouri legislation comes after Alabama’s governor signed a bill Wednesday making performing an abortion a felony in nearly all cases.

Republican-led legislatures around the U.S. are imposing new abortion restrictions, hoping more conservative justices will overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion.

Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia have approved bans on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur in about the sixth week of pregnancy.

Debate over abortion: Where is abortion legal? Everywhere. But ...
 

Activist Tamara Stevens with the Handmaids Coalition of Georgia stands outside the Georgia Capitol after
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
addressed an event to speak out against the recently passed "heartbeat" bill on May 16, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.
The bill, which bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected around six weeks,
was signed on May 15 by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey.
Under the new measure, expected to come into effect in six months,
performing an abortion is a crime that could land doctors in prison for up to 99 years. (Photo: JOHN AMIS, AFP/Getty Images)

 

Where states stand: After Alabama OKs strictest abortion law in nation, Missouri next?

Missouri’s bill also includes an outright ban on abortions except in cases of medical emergencies. But unlike Alabama’s, it would kick in only if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

If courts don’t allow Missouri’s proposed eight-week ban to take effect, the bill includes a ladder of less-restrictive time limits that would prohibit abortions at 14, 18 or 20 weeks or pregnancy. Republican House Speaker Elijah Haahr has said the goal is for the legislation to withstand court challenges.

Supreme Court: Anti-abortion laws like Alabama's are aimed at high court, which may be an obstacle

A total of 3,903 abortions occurred in Missouri in 2017, the last full year for which the state Department of Health and Senior Services has statistics online. Of those, 1,673 occurred at under nine weeks and 119 occurred at 20 weeks or later in a pregnancy.

Missouri lawmakers have until 6 p.m. Friday to pass bills. Other pending measures include a $300 million bonding plan to pay for bridge repairs across the state.

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