Add Missouri to the growing list of states seeking to limit abortion rights.
The Missouri Senate passed a bill early Thursday that prohibits abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy, CNN affiliate KSHB reports.
The bill, HB 126, is known as the “Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act.” It bans abortions after a heartbeat is detected. It allows exceptions for medical emergencies but not for pregnancies caused by rape or incest.
Many women often aren’t aware they’re pregnant in the first eight weeks.
Republican lawmakers who voted for the bill say it also bans abortions after a fetus develops to a point where it can feel pain as well as serve as a “trigger” mechanism that would ban abortion in Missouri if Roe v. Wade was ever overturned.
The bill passed the GOP-controlled Senate 24-10. It has to go back to the state House for one more vote before it goes to GOP Gov. Mike Parson.
Parson has voiced his support for the legislation, saying it would make Missouri “one of the strongest pro-life states” in the United States.
“I made a promise to all Missourians that I would continue advocating and promoting a culture of life here in Missouri,” Parson said at a news conference on Wednesday.
Other states have passed similar bills
The bill’s passage in the Missouri Senate comes the same day that Alabama’s abortion bill, considered the most restrictive in the nation, became law. Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, signed the bill that could punish doctors who perform abortions with life in prison.
Groups such as the ACLU and Planned Parenthood promised to sue, which is just what the new law’s supporters want. Anti-abortion lawmakers and activists, who have also pushed for so-called fetal heartbeat laws in Georgia and Ohio, hope any legal action against these new laws will make it to the Supreme Court. They believe the court’s conservative majority will finally overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that legalized abortion.
In Iowa, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed “heartbeat” legislation in May of last year, but a state judge struck down the law this January. The judge wrote in his decision that defenders didn’t identify a compelling reason for the ban, according to The Des Moines Register.
In Mississippi, a “heartbeat” bill was signed by Gov. Phil Bryant back in March. Exceptions would be to prevent a woman’s death or her serious risk of impairment.
“The heartbeat has been the universal hallmark of life since man’s very beginning,” Bryant said in an address before signing the bill.
The Center for Reproductive Rights promised to “take Mississippi to court to make sure it never takes effect.”
In other states, legislators in Arkansas, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri and Kentucky have introduced similar bills this year. Kentucky’s version was stopped from becoming law by a judge earlier this month.