Missouri just became the latest state to ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, passing the Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act through the state’s House of Representatives with a vote of 110-44 on Friday.
The bill will criminalize abortions that occur after roughly the eight-week mark of a pregnancy. Doctors who perform abortions after this cutoff could be given a prison sentence of five to fifteen years. Women who obtain the abortions will not be prosecuted.
It has been sent to the desk of Republican Governor Mike Parson who is expected to sign the bill into law. He lent his support earlier in the proceedings, stating:
I’m honored to lead a state with so many people committed to standing up for those without a voice…I applaud the bipartisan efforts of the Missouri House of Representatives for choosing to take a bold stand to protect women’s health and the right to life.
Also included in the bill is a requirement that both parents consent to a minor receiving an abortion. Current law states that consent is only required from one parent. The bill language does not include an exception for rape and incest, and protects against abortions based on race, sex, or a Down syndrome diagnosis.
Republican State Senators Dave Schatz and Caleb Rowden celebrated the passage of the bill in a joint statement:
This comprehensive, life-affirming legislation prohibits abortions once a heartbeat has been detected, prohibits abortions when a baby is capable of feeling pain, and would outlaw abortion in Missouri upon the reversal of Roe v. Wade.
Just like there has been in the passage of other pro-life bills, there was no shortage of protest against this legislation from the pro-choice community. Dr. David Eisenberg, the medical director of Reproductive Health Services (which is the last abortion provider in Missouri), commented:
People are asking me, ‘What do we do if Roe is overturned?’ My answer is, ‘Come see what it’s like in Missouri. We are already dealing with it. The future is here for us.’
When the bill is signed into law, Missouri will join Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia, and Ohio as states where fetal heartbeat detection is the cutoff for an abortion.
Photo credit: Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0