Missouri House Passes Wide-Ranging Abortion Restrictions
Missouri’s Republican-led House on Wednesday took steps to try to ensure most abortions would be outlawed in the state should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade.
Legislation that the House approved 117-30 would greatly restrict the procedure even if the Supreme Court doesn’t undo its 1973 ruling establishing the nationwide right to abortion. Among other things, it would ban most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, possibly as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Similar bans in Arkansas, Iowa and North Dakota in recent years have been struck down by courts.
A so-called trigger ban that would take effect if the high court overturns Roe v. Wade includes exceptions only for medical emergencies and not for rape or incest. Doctors who violate the law would face a felony charge.
The Missouri bill comes as abortion opponents across the country are emboldened by President Donald Trump’s appointment of conservative Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. Abortion-rights activists are working to protect the procedure in states where Democrats hold power.
Other provisions in the Missouri bill, which Republicans loaded up with a number of separate abortion bills, include a ban on abortions based on race, sex or an indication of Down syndrome. The legislation also would require that both parents be notified before a minor receives an abortion, with some exceptions.
The measure now heads to the Republican-led Senate, where it’s unclear whether lawmakers will keep all of the varying proposals that House members added to it.
The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Nick Schroer, lauded the measure as “the most sound, comprehensive pro-life bill in the entire U.S.” Democratic Rep. Cora Faith Walker said she’s “terrified” of it.
“There’s been no combination of such draconian laws and measures,” she said.
Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota have abortion bans that would kick in if Roe v. Wade falls. Efforts to pass bills limiting abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected are underway in states including Florida, Kentucky, Ohio, South Caroline and Tennessee.
Missouri Republicans also said they’re driven by efforts in states with Democratic-led legislatures, including New York, Virginia and New Mexico, to ensure access to abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
“I am proud that Missouri, the Show-Me State, is showing the rest of the country that we will stick up for the unborn, those precious little children that have no one else to speak for them,” Republican Rep. Sonya Anderson told colleagues on the House floor, holding back tears as she described a miscarriage she had.