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Missouri governor signs bill banning abortions after 8 weeks


Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signs one of the nation's most restrictive abortion bills on Friday, banning the procedure on or beyond eight weeks of pregnancy. (Summer Ballentine/AP)

Missouri has become the latest state to sign a restrictive abortion law.

On Friday, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson inked a bill that prohibits pregnancy terminations after the eight-week mark.

Although the measure includes allowances for medical emergencies, there are no exceptions for incest or rape. Once the law takes effect Aug. 28, doctors face up to 15-year prison terms for performing abortions past the cutoff point.

At the bill signing, Parson defended the lack of abortion exceptions.

“Is it a terrible thing that happens in those situations? Yes, it is . . . but the reality of it is bad things do happen sometimes," explained the Republican governor. "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,” he said.

Women, however, may not know their pregnant by their eighth week.

On May 15, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill that classifies abortion as a Class A felony in nearly all cases. That law allows for doctors performing abortions past the six-week cutoff to be placed behind bars for up to 99 years, if found guilty.

Friday morning, Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a joint lawsuit that challenges Alabama’s new abortion law.

“We’ve been clear: If you attack our constitutional right to reproductive freedom, we will sue,” the ACLU posted on its Twitter page on Friday.

Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio all have approved bans on abortions once cardiac activity in the womb is identified. Fetal heartbeats usually occur around the sixth week of pregnancy. The laws in Mississippi and Ohio take effect July 1. Alabama’s is effective Nov. 16, and Georgia’s on Jan. 1.

In Missouri, women terminating their pregnancies can’t be prosecuted.

Missouri’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union stated it was exploring “all options, including litigation, to block the law from going into effect.”

Sara Baker, the state ACLU’s legislative and policy director, claimed the bill is unconstitutional, and Missouri state House Democratic Minority Leader Crystal Quade said in a written statement that the new law treats women “as little more than fetal incubators with no rights or role in the decision, even in cases of rape and incest.”