Missouri fight over abortion heads to Court of Appeals this month

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ST. LOUIS-While the nation is focused on a new Texas law upheld this week by the Supreme Court that bans most abortions and leaves enforcement up to private citizens, the next legal battleground over abortion rights will likely be in a federal courtroom in St. Louis later this month.

At issue is Missouri House Bill 126, “Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act,” which was passed in the 2019 legislative session and signed into law by Governor Mike Parson.

This bill specifies that an abortion shall not be performed or
induced upon a woman at eight weeks gestational age or later,
except in cases of medical emergency. The language does not make a
specific exception for rape or incest. A person who knowingly
violates these provisions shall be guilty of a class B felony, as
well as subject to suspension or revocation of his or her
professional license. A pregnant woman upon whom an abortion is
performed or induced in violation of these provisions shall not be
prosecuted for a conspiracy to violate the provisions of this act

Missouri HB 126

Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region was among those who filed suit soon after the bill was signed into law. The bill also prohibits abortions based on a Down syndrome diagnosis.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has already petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case.

In June, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal court’s injunction against the law. The full court will hear arguments in the case on September 21 in St. Louis, although the hearing will be conducted via teleconference or videoconference due to coronavirus pandemic concerns.

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