Missouri adds to wave of new pro-life laws as governor signs eight-week abortion ban

Joining a list of other states that have passed and enacted sweeping pro-life laws in recent months, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed a bill Friday banning abortions after the eighth week of pregnancy.

"By signing this bill today, we are sending a strong signal to the nation that, in Missouri, we stand for life, protect women's health, and advocate for the unborn," Parson said in a statement. "All life has value and is worth protecting."

The bill allows for an abortion to be performed after eight weeks in the case of a medical emergency but does not contain any exceptions for cases of rape or incest. Parson defended the lack of such exemptions in his office Friday morning to a group of pro-life advocates.

"Is it a terrible thing that happens in those situations? Yes it is," the governor said, according to the Associated Press. "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."

The bill does more than just outlaw abortion procedures. It also helps out organizations whose mission is to support women who choose life and their families. Parson's news release also explains that the bill contains a measure that "expands the definition of a pregnancy resource center for tax credit purposes to include facilities that provide assistance to families as well."

The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri reacted to news of the bill's signing by pledging to "explore all options, including litigation," to keep the law from taking effect.

"The Constitution gives pregnant individuals with their doctors the right to make the profoundly important and personal decision whether to terminate a pregnancy," reads a statement from Tony Rothert, legal director for the state-level legal organization. "Despite this political stunt, we will make sure that abortion remains legal in every state."

The new ban is set to take effect in late August.

Missouri joins a handful of other states that have enacted new, extensive pro-life laws over the past few months, much to the celebration of pro-life advocates.

Alabama passed a near-total ban on abortion earlier in May, while the states of Kentucky and Ohio enacted "heartbeat laws," which ban abortions after six weeks, in March and April, respectively.

Congressional abortion supporters in Washington, D.C., however, are looking for ways to reverse the current pro-life trend in state legislatures. On Thursday, Democratic lawmakers from both chambers of Congress introduced a bill that would hamstring states' abilities to enact pro-life laws like these, while invalidating laws that already exist.

"It means no abortion bans," Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) said of the measure, adding that it "prohibits any non-medical restrictions on our bodies," which would mean "no heartbeat bills," mandatory waiting periods, or ultrasound requirements.
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