Missouri governor signs bill banning abortion at eight weeks

heartbeat bill, pro-life

UPDATE May 24, 2019: Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed a bill on Friday that bans abortions at eight weeks gestation. There are no exceptions for rape or incest, but it does include an exception for risk to the woman’s life or risk of “a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.”

The law is set to go into effect on August 28. Doctors who commit abortions before eight weeks after that date could face up to 15 years in prison. Women who abort will not be prosecuted and HIPPA laws should protect their identity should their doctor be investigated for committing illegal abortions.


The law is expected to be challenged in court, however, it includes a ban on abortion from 14 weeks to 20 weeks in the event that the courts overturn the eight-week ban. The bill also includes a ban on abortions based on race, sex, or a Down syndrome diagnosis and would change the parental notification law to include both legal parents.

In the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned, the bill also includes a “trigger law” that would ban all abortions except in the cases of medical emergencies.

May 17, 2019: The Missouri House voted 110-44 today in favor of banning abortion at eight weeks gestation just a day after the state Senate passed the bill at about 4 a.m. Thursday in a vote of 24-10. Governor Mike Parson is expected to sign it, according to NPR.

HB 126 includes a large number of abortion restrictions, and if the governor does indeed sign the bill, Missouri will join states such as Louisiana, Ohio, Mississippi, and Georgia, which have already passed similar laws. According to the Guardian, “the legislation includes an exception for medical emergencies threatening a woman’s health, but not for rape or incest.” The bill itself defines “medical emergency” as “a condition which, based on reasonable medical judgment, so complicates the medical condition of a pregnant woman as to necessitate the immediate abortion of her pregnancy to avert the death of the pregnant woman or for which a delay will create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.”

Before the Senate vote, the governor stated on Twitter, “It’s time to make Missouri the most pro-life state in the country! Thanks to leaders in the House and Senate, we are one vote away from passing one of the strongest #ProLife bills in the country – standing for life, protecting women’s health, and advocating for the unborn.”

While women who have abortions after eight weeks would not be held liable, doctors who commit those abortions could be charged with a Class B felony and would face five to 15 years in jail, according to the Associated Press. He or she would also risk the loss of his or her professional license.

The bill also includes an overall ban on abortion except in the cases of a medical emergency, however, this is a “trigger law” and would only go into effect in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned. If the courts don’t allow the proposed eight-week abortion ban to go into effect, there is also a ban of 14 to 20 weeks included in the bill. In addition, the 53-page bill seeks to ban abortions based on race, sex, or a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. It would also change the current parental notification law to include both legal parents.

“This is not a piece of legislation that is designed for a challenge,” Missouri’s Republican House Speaker Elijah Haahr said. “This is the type of legislation that is designed to withstand a challenge and to actually save lives in our state.”

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