The Republican-led Missouri House passed a pro-life bill Friday that protects unborn babies from abortion at eight weeks of pregnancy and asserts the state is a “sanctuary of life.”
The state House voted 110-44 to approve the legislation that makes no exceptions for rape or incest but allows abortion past eight weeks in the case of a medical emergency.
— Missouri House GOP (@MOHouseGOP) May 17, 2019
“Every child has an intrinsic value given to them by the Creator of life,” said Missouri House Speaker Elijah Haahr in a statement following the final approval of the bill. “The bold legislation we sent to the Governor’s desk is the strongest and most comprehensive pro-life bill in the country.”
Referring to states such as New York, Virginia, and Vermont – which have put forward bills that allow abortion at any time up until birth – Haahr said, “While the actions of some states this year said life is insignificant, the Missouri House made the statement that in Missouri, we believe an unborn child is a human life worth protecting.”
Missouri Rep. Nicholas B. Schroer, who sponsored HB 126, the Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act, said the purpose of the legislation was not to provoke a court challenge.
“This legislation has one goal, and that is to save lives … to withstand judicial challenges and not cause them,” he said, reported NBC News. “While others are zeroing in on ways to overturn Roe v. Wade and navigate the courts as quickly as possible, that is not our goal. However, if and when that fight comes we will be fully ready.”
The bill recognizes that “God is the author of life,” and declares Missouri “and all of its political subdivisions are a ‘sanctuary of life’ that protects pregnant women and their unborn children.”
BREAKING: Following Alabama and Georgia, another one of the strongest pro-life bills in the nation heads to governor in Missouri! He is expected to sign it soon. Amazing news! https://t.co/fh3R4OWOkQ
— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) May 17, 2019
The Missouri Senate approved the legislation Thursday, 24-10, and now it heads to the governor, Republican Mike Parson, who is expected to sign it into law.
“Thanks to the leaders in the House and Senate, we have the opportunity to be one of the strongest pro-life states in the country,” Parson said Wednesday.
According to the bill, doctors who perform abortions after the eight-week period could face five to 15 years of jail time. Women who undergo abortions after the eighth week of pregnancy would not be prosecuted.
Additionally, if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, Missouri’s measure includes a complete ban on abortions except in cases of medical emergencies.
The legislation also contains contingency plans if the courts block the proposed eight-week ban, including a range of bans from 14-20 weeks of pregnancy, and a ban on all abortions due to race, sex or a diagnosis of Down syndrome.
“This is nothing but an affront not to Roe v. Wade… to what it stands for, to the U.S. Constitution itself,” said Democrat Missouri Rep. Ian Mackey, reported NBC News. “Women brought all of us into this world, and I sure hope they vote all of us out.”
— Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri (@PPMO_Advocates) May 17, 2019
Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri disrupted debate over the bill in the state House with chants of “Shame, shame, shame!” and “When politicians lie, people die!” The abortion-rights supporters were eventually escorted from the chamber.
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, however, called the vote a “historic victory in the fight to protect unborn children and their mothers.”
“Spurred on by the extremism on display in states like New York and Virginia, the American people are making their voices heard,” she added.