On Friday, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, signed into law one of the most pro-life laws in the nation, outlawing abortion at eight weeks, save an exception for the life or risk of major physical harm to the mother. The legislation does not include an exception for rape or incest, and sex- , ability- , and race-selective abortions are also banned outright.
The law is set to go into effect on August 28, though pro-abortion organizations are expected to challenge its constitutionality. As noted by Fox News, the Missouri law was crafted to stand up to legal challenges, not provoke a showdown over Roe v. Wade: “If the eight-week ban is struck down, the bill includes a ladder of less-restrictive time limits at 14, 18 or 20 weeks.”
Additionally, if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, the law is designed to kick-in as a full abortion ban.
Responding to criticism over the lack of exceptions for abortion post-eight weeks, Gov. Parson argued that two months is enough time to decide to get an abortion, even in tough cases.
“Is it a terrible thing that happens in those situations? Yes it is,” the Republican acknowledged, according to Fox. “But the reality of it is bad things do happen sometimes. But you have two months to decide what you’re going to do with that issue, and I believe in two months you can make a decision.”
After the law goes into effect, those performing illegal abortions could face 15 years behind bars. Mothers, however, cannot be punished for having an abortion — as with Alabama’s strict abortion ban signed last week.
Sara Baker, a rep from the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, called the law “unconstitutional”; the organization has vowed to look at “all options, including litigation, to block the law from going into effect.”
Democrats have responded to sweeping pro-life legislation with their own proposed bill: the euphemistically-named “Women’s Health Protection Act,” or WHPA. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), would block and upend vital pro-life legislation, such as so-called “heartbeat bills” — which protect unborn babies with a detectable heartbeat from abortion — waiting periods, and mandates on ultrasounds, among other abortion restrictions, as reported by The Daily Wire on Friday.
Speaking at a press conference about the bill on Thursday — flanked by Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen — Chu boasted, “Our bill finally puts a stop to the state-based attacks that anti-abortion advocates have been trying to use to undermine or even reverse Roe. … It means no abortion bans.”
“Access to safe & legal abortions isn’t just a women’s issue—it’s a human rights issue. Today, we introduce the Women’s Health Protection Act to guarantee a person’s right to control their own body & future, everywhere in America,” read a post on Sen. Blumenthal’s Facebook page. “We refuse to stand by as extremist state lawmakers try to undermine women’s health care. Proud to stand up with Judy Chu& hundreds of our colleagues to say: It’s time to fight back against anti-choice state laws. #ActForWomen”