Missouri passes ban on nearly ALL abortions after eight weeks including in rape and incest as restrictions sweep US

MISSOURI last night became the latest US state to vote in restrictive abortion laws banning nearly ALL procedures after eight weeks – including in rape and incest cases.

Republican governor Mike Parson is expected to sign off on the legislation after local lawmakers voted by 110-44 in its favour on Friday.

The proposed ban allows exceptions only in medical emergencies – and doctors face up to 15 years in prison for breaching it.

It comes after Alabama’s governor signed a bill on Wednesday making performing an abortion a felony in nearly all cases.

Medics there now face life in prison for carrying out an abortion after six weeks – the earliest time that a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

US Vice President Mike Pence praised Alabama's decision, saying on Thursday that the state is "embracing life".

ROE V WADE

Republican-led state legislatures around the US are imposing new abortion restrictions.

They hope more conservative judges will overturn the US Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v Wade ruling legalising abortion nationwide.

Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia have approved bans on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected – which can occur in about the sixth week of pregnancy.

Republican Missouri representative Nick Schroer said his bill "has one goal, and that goal is to save lives."

But the pro-life Center For Reproductive Rights CEO Nancy Northup called the measure "unconstitutional."

She said: "Almost 50 years of core protections for women's reproductive decision-making have been upheld by the US Supreme Court.

"Missouri and Alabama's recent criminal abortion bans and all other affronts to Roe v Wade, will be challenged and blocked according to precedent and settled law."

PRO-CHOICE PROTESTS

In a passionate speech, Democratic Rep. Sarah Unsicker told the house in Jefferson City, Missouri: "Laundry bleach, acid, bitter concoction, knitting needles, bicycle spokes, ballpoint pens, jumping from the top of the stairs or the roof.

"These are ways that women around the world who don't have access to legal abortions perform their own."

Several women dressed as characters from the  The Handmaid's Tale watched silently.

The Margaret Atwood book and subsequent Hulu TV series depicts a dystopian future where fertile women are forced to breed.

Honestly, I don't think it's right to punish the child for something the child can't control

A handful of abortion opponents protested outside the Planned Parenthood clinic in St Louis on Friday.

Among them was 21-year-old Teresa Pettis – a Catholic who is five months' pregnant with her first child.

She said she supports the bill even though it outlaws abortions for women who have been raped.

Ms Pettis said: "Honestly, I don't think it's right to punish the child for something the child can't control.

"The baby might be born in unfortunate circumstances, but it's still a human life."

A total of 3,903 abortions occurred in Missouri in 2017, the last full year for which the state Department of Health and Senior Services has statistics online.

Of those, 1,673 occurred at under nine weeks and 119 occurred at 20 weeks or later in a pregnancy.

About 2,900 abortions occurred in 2018, according to the agency.

Most aspects of the new bill are due to take effect on August 28.


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