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Missouri Passes Bill Outlawing Abortions Once Heartbeat Can Be Detected

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11-Week Old Fetus' Foot

The Missouri legislature has joined several states in passing an ambitious bill outlawing abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected—at eight weeks of gestation.

At the end of the 2019 legislative session, Missouri lawmakers passed HB 126, also known as “Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act.” HB 126 was sponsored in the house by Missouri Representative Nick Schrorer (R-107, O’Fallon).

Senator Andrew Koenig (R-15, St. Louis County), was the Senate sponsor.

“Even if this bill saves one child from abortion, and they have a chance to grow up and live in this state, it will all be worth it,” Sen. Schrorer said.

The bill started out as the “Heartbeat Bill,” banning abortion at eight weeks gestation and later, when a heartbeat can be detected, but it grew in scope after Virginia, New York, and Illinois removed all barriers for late-term abortions in recent months. It became a declaration of the rights of an unborn child, with an outright ban on all abortions, contingent on changes in federal law.

The bill does make an exception for medical emergencies, but not for rape or incest.

“We know this will be challenged, so we wanted to make it a very strong bill,” Rep. Schrorer said. “We looked at all the other legislation across the United States and we focused on case law and how they were challenged and thrown out. This is where we came up with the universal severance clause.” HB 126 is a team effort and has multiple provisions. If a plaintiff goes to court over the Roe v Wade trigger bill, they would have to go after each piece of HB 126 separately, as each part is not dependent on the other. 

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With an increasingly conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court, lawmakers in several conservative states, including Georgia and Alabama, have passed bills clearly designed to trigger an appeal to the Supreme Court as a way of testing the staying-power of Roe v. Wade.

Meanwhile this legislative session, the states of New York and Virginia passed bills widely expanding the ability of women to obtain abortions in those states, eliminating the prior bans on late-term abortions.

Missouri Senator Josh Hawley told FOX News he thought the passage of anti-abortion bills in Missouri, Alabama, and Georgia were reactions to the new laws in New York and Virginia.

"It’s a direct response, Steve, to the extremism we’ve seen in places like New York and Virginia where you have Democrat politicians who are ... passing laws that would allow a baby to be born and then killed after birth,” he told Fox News’ Steve Doocy. “It’s just incredible the extremism that we’re seeing, and I think you’re seeing these states responding.”


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