Missouri has become the latest state to pass a strict anti-abortion law as Republican legislators churn out measures they hope will provide a test case for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The state House voted 110-44 on Friday for a bill that prohibits abortion once a fetal heartbeat has been detected. The Senate passed it on Thursday. With the expected signature of Gov. Mike Parson, who already tweeted his support, Missouri would join four other states — Kentucky, Ohio, Mississippi, Georgia — that have enacted similar legislation this year. Only Georgia’s allows exceptions for cases of rape or incest. Missouri’s would not.
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Missouri’s bill states a woman may not be prosecuted for having an abortion but that the provider could face up to 15 years in prison.
The legislation is more ambitious than some other states’ because it offers federal courts the chance to decide at what point during a pregnancy abortion should be illegal. If the detection of a fetal heartbeat, usually at six weeks of pregnancy, is deemed too early, then it offers less restrictive time limits ranging from 14 weeks to 20 weeks. The bill also prohibits all abortions except in cases of medical emergency if Roe is overturned.
“This legislation is designed to withstand legal challenges, not start them,“ said Republican state Rep. Nick Schroer.
The vote came two days after Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed legislation banning abortions regardless of how far along the pregnancy is. The only exception is to save the mother’s life.