Missouri Governor Signs Bill Banning Abortions After 8 Weeks

With a signature from Gov. Mike Parson, the state joins several others that have passed increasingly harsh anti-abortion legislation in recent weeks.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) on Friday signed into law a bill that bans abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy except in the case of a medical emergency.

The law — which makes no exceptions for pregnancies that result from rape or incest — outlaws abortions before many women even realize they are pregnant. Doctors could face up to 15 years in prison for performing an abortion after eight weeks.

Missouri joins several other states that have passed increasingly harsh anti-abortion legislation in recent weeks, including so-called “fetal heartbeat” laws that ban abortions after about six weeks into the pregnancy.

An anti-abortion law recently passed in Alabama, which bans abortion in nearly all cases, is already facing legal challenges from the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood. “Fetal heartbeat” laws passed in Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky and Ohio are all also in the midst of legal disputes. Missouri’s law will almost certainly face similar lawsuits.

Leana Wen, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, criticized Parson’s decision.

“He and his counterparts in Alabama, Ohio, Mississippi, and Georgia are showing the American people what it looks like to be out of touch with science and reality,” she said in a statement.

M’Evie Mead, director of Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri, said the new law came at a particularly precarious time for pregnant women in the state.

“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,” she said.