UPDATE 12:12pm ET, 5/14/29: Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed the “Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act” into law, passed by the Missouri Senate on May 15. The law, considered on of the “strongest” anti-abortion laws in the United States, will only go into effect if the Supreme Court of the United States overturns Roe v. Wade. Parson quietly signed the bill as catastrophic cyclones ripped through the state, including capital Jefferson City, leaving three dead, at least 20 injured, and devastating damage.
Hours after Alabama passed their controversial, extreme anti-abortion bill, Missouri’s Republican-led Senate quietly did the same. Called the “Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act”, which passed 24-10, is being called “one of the strongest” pieces of anti-abortion legislation in the United States by its authors. The bill was hotly debated in Missouri Senate on May 15, with the 10 Democratic senators opposing the bill attempting to get Republicans to see its flaws. In the image above, you can see pro-choice Freshman Missouri Senator Karla May passionately arguing with her Republican colleagues. Missouri now joins states like Ohio, Georgia, and Alabama, in attempting to take away women’s bodily autonomy. However, this bill will only stand as law should Roe v. Wade be overturned. Still, this is a dramatic threat to women’s rights and lives. As we await Republican Missouri Governor Mike Parson to sign the bill, here’s what you need to know:
1. The bill outlaws abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy. In a statement on Twitter, State Senators Dave Schatz and Caleb Rowden said, “Today the Missouri Senate passed one of the most pro-life bills in the United States: Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act. 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.”
2. Doctors could receive jail time for performing abortions. Unlike the shocking bill passed earlier this week in Georgia, women would not face imprisonment or a charge of murder for getting an abortion, nor would they be investigated and questioned by police when they have a miscarriage. However, doctors who perform abortions could serve 5 to 15 years in prison if convicted. This is similar to the Alabama bill, though doctors convicted under that law could serve 10 to 99 years in prison for a Class A Felony.
3. There is no exception for rape or incest. Like the Alabama bill that passed hours before, Missouri’s HB 126 does not allow for abortion in cases of rape or incest. Abortions after eight weeks would be allowed in cases where they mother’s life is in danger, or if it’s clear that the fetus will not survive until birth in the womb.
4. This will only become law if Roe V. Wade is overturned. Like other states passing anti-abortion bills, Missouri’s Republican government is banking on Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that legalized abortion in the United States, being overturned by the Supreme Court. At the moment, the Supreme Court has not taken up an abortion case that would lead to Roe v. Wade being overturned, but with SCOTUS now conservative-leaning, anti-abortion politicians have their fingers crossed. While Georgia, Ohio, and Alabama’s anti-abortion bills are slated to become law on January 1, 2020, Missouri’s will only be enacted if Roe v. Wade is demolished.
5. Missouri already has incredibly strict abortion laws. Currently, Missourian women seeking abortions must undergo a 72-hour waiting period before the procedure is performed. There is also only one abortion clinic in the entire state: a Planned Parenthood in St. Louis, Missouri. There used to be five abortion clinics, but three were forced to close in 2008 after not meeting new state guidelines that abortion providers must secure admitting privileges at hospitals located within 15 minutes from their clinics. The fourth clinic, Columbia Health Center, closed in October 2018.
Read the full text of Missouri Bill HB 126 HERE.