Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signs legislation banning abortions at 8 weeks

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By Elisha Fieldstadt

Missouri’s Republican Gov. Mike L. Parson on Friday signed legislation banning abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy with an exception for medical emergencies, but not for rape or incest.

Under the bill, which passed in the House last Friday by 110 to 44, doctors who perform an abortion after the eight-week cutoff could face five to 15 years in prison. Women who receive abortions would not be criminally penalized.

“By signing this bill today, we are sending a strong signal to the nation that, in Missouri, we stand for life, protect women’s health, and advocate for the unborn. All life has value and is worth protecting,” Parson said in a statement Friday.“Thanks to decades of pro-life leadership, Missouri recently hit an all-time low for the number of abortions. We’ve gone from a high of more than 20,000 in our state, to now below 3,000.”

Missouri’s Republican-led Senate passed the bill, called Missouri Stands With the Unborn, by a vote of 24-10 on May 16. It prohibits doctors from performing an abortion due to a diagnosis of potential for Down syndrome, the race or sex of the unborn child.

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It also contains a clause that requires written notification of a parent or guardian for an abortion to be performed on a minor, which went into effect when Parson signed the bill, a spokesman for his office said.

Planned Parenthood on Friday assured women in the state that facilities that provide abortions are still open in Missouri and neighboring Illinois.

“People need to know that this ban is not in effect — yet. Abortion is still legal in this state and Planned Parenthood Advocates will do everything we can to protect access to abortion in Missouri,” M’Evie Mead, director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Missouri, said.

“Gov. Parson has put the health and lives of Missouri women at risk in his race to make our state the one that overturns Roe v. Wade at the Supreme Court,” she added. “At a time when maternal mortality is increasing in our state, we must be doing everything we can to increase access to health care — not cut it.”