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Missouri's Legislature Approves Abortion Ban at 8 Weeks

Legislation is designed to withstand court challenges, sponsor says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 17, 2019 5:31 PM CDT
Abortion-rights activists seated in the Missouri House gallery react after lawmakers approved sweeping anti-abortion legislation on Friday in Jefferson City.   (Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)
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(Newser) – Missouri's Republican-led House on Friday passed sweeping legislation designed to survive court challenges, which would ban abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy. The ban would be among the most restrictive in the nation, the AP reports. It includes exceptions for medical emergencies, but not for pregnancies caused by rape or incest. Doctors would face five to 15 years in prison for violating the eight-week cutoff. Women having abortions would not be prosecuted. Republican Gov. Mike Parson has pledged to sign the bill.

Nancy Northup of the Center for Reproductive Rights called the measure unconstitutional, but GOP Rep. Nick Schroer said his legislation is "made to withstand judicial challenges." It includes an outright ban on abortions except in cases of medical emergencies, but it would take effect only if Roe v. Wade is overturned. If courts don't allow the eight-week ban to take effect, the bill includes a ladder of time limits that would prohibit abortions at 14, 18, or 20 weeks or pregnancy. "Laundry bleach, acid, bitter concoction, knitting needles, bicycle spokes, ballpoint pens, jumping from the top of the stairs or the roof," Democratic Rep. Sarah Unsicker said on the House floor, "these are ways that women around the world who don't have access to legal abortions perform their own." The bill also bans abortions based solely on race, sex, or a diagnosis indicating the potential for Down Syndrome.

(Read more abortion ban stories.)

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