Federal Judge Blocks Missouri Abortion Law

ST LOUIS, MO - MAY 30: Jessica Piper, Veronica Hupp, and Ashlee Hendrix stand in front of Luther Ely Smith Park before a rally to protest the closure of the last abortion clinic in Missouri on May 30, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. In the wake of Missouri recent controversial …
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A federal judge has temporarily blocked Missouri’s comprehensive abortion law that bans most abortions after the eighth week of pregnancy, less than 24 hours before the law was set to go into effect.

In his decision, Judge Howard Sachs of U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, an appointee of President Jimmy Carter, also granted the requests of Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to strike down restrictions on late-term abortions in the state past 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The legislation contained contingency plans if the courts were to block the proposed eight-week ban, including a range of bans from 14-20 weeks of pregnancy.

Sachs wrote the law showed “hostility to, and refusal to comply with, the Supreme Court’s abortion jurisprudence,” and “will be ruled invalid in the final judgment in this case.”

The judge allowed to go into effect the part of the law that prohibits abortions on the basis of an unborn baby’s race, sex, or prenatal diagnosis, such as Downs syndrome. Nevertheless, he gave little hope for Missouri to prevail over that provision of the law as well.

The law — named the Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act — recognizes that “God is the author of life” and declares that Missouri “and all of its political subdivisions are a ‘sanctuary of life’ that protects pregnant women and their unborn children.”

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) tweeted his reaction to the ruling:

Planned Parenthood operates the state’s only abortion clinic in St. Louis. The clinic provides abortions up to 21 weeks and six days, reports the Springfield News-Leader.

Alexis McGill Johnson, acting Planned Parenthood president, vowed to continue to fight the law in court.

“What little abortion access in Missouri is left, will stay in place for the time being,” she tweeted. “In the meantime, we can’t ignore the part of this law that remains in place—which allows politicians to interfere with the patient-provider relationship.”

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, called the ruling a “travesty of justice.”

“This case in Missouri shows Americans all they need to know about the unscrupulous, predatory abortion lobby, headed by Planned Parenthood,” she said. “Rulings like these will motivate voters in 2020 because the courts should not be able to ignore the legislative process.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, also observed the judge’s decision that dismissed the will of the people of Missouri acting through their elected lawmakers.

“Missouri is a strongly pro-life state and lawmakers acted on their constituents’ will when they passed landmark protections for unborn children and their mothers,” she said, adding that her organization’s polling “shows that 82% of Missouri voters support banning these painful late-term abortions.”

Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said the judge’s decision is yet “more proof that elections have consequences.”

“If a Democrat were to get into the White House, we can expect more pro-abortion ideologues to be nominated to the federal bench, and that would lead to more life-saving laws being blocked and overturned,” he added. “This erroneous decision should motivate us all the more to elect pro-life presidents and senators.”

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