Two powerful pro-abortion groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday to challenge a Missouri law that protects unborn babies from abortion after their heartbeats are detectable.
Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union argued that the law is unconstitutional, and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri should block it, Reuters reports.
“Without this relief, the bans will have a devastating effect on patients seeking access to abortion in the state,” the abortion groups claimed.
The Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act, slated to go into effect on Aug. 28, is the strongest pro-life legislation in Missouri history. Gov. Mike Parson signed it into law in May.
The law will:
- ban abortion at detection of a heartbeat at 8 weeks
- if overturned, ban abortion at 14 weeks
- if overturned, ban abortion at 18 weeks
- require second custodial parent notification
- require Missouri informed consent requirements for out-of-state abortion referrals
- increase required malpractice insurance to $3 million
- increase to 70 percent of the donation, tax credits for donations to pregnancy resource centers and lift the limit on the amount of the donation
- ban abortions completely when Roe v. Wade is overturned
- ban abortions based on the race, gender or Down Syndrome diagnosis of an unborn child
Lawyers for the abortion industry attacked the law, describing it as part of an “unrelenting campaign to deny patients the health care they seek and to which they are entitled,” FOX 2 Now reports.
They said the law would ban “the vast majority of pre-viability abortions,” which is unconstitutional. Roe v. Wade and subsequent U.S. Supreme Court cases on abortion prohibit states from banning abortions prior to viability.
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“Planned Parenthood will not cower to politicians who are trying to dismantle our access to safe, legal abortion — not in Missouri, and not anywhere else,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president of Planned Parenthood.
Johnson erroneously claimed most Americans oppose this type of legislation, but polls show strong public support for abortion limits.
Polling released earlier this year by SBA List found that 82 percent of Missouri voters – including 66 percent of Democrats, 83 percent of Independents, 83 percent of women and 61 percent of self-described pro-choice voters – support a law prohibiting late-term abortions (only 18 percent support allowing late-term abortions).
The findings are not unique. Gallup polls consistently have found that a majority of Americans think all or most abortions should be illegal.
State Attorney General Eric Schmitt said he will defend the unborn in court, KSMU reported in May.
“There have been a lot of cases in front of the United States Supreme Court as it relates to issues around abortion and pro-life legislation that came out of the Legislature,” Schmitt said at the time. “If they get something done, we’re ready, willing and able even it takes us all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States.”
The Missouri health department reported 3,903 abortions in 2017, and 119 of those were babies killed after 20 weeks.
The pro-life law provides protections for unborn babies in a wide range of scenarios, while taking into account court rulings like Roe v. Wade that restrict states from protecting the unborn. The law bans abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for medical emergencies. Abortionists who violate the measure could be punished with up to 15 years in prison. Women are excluded from prosecution.
It also includes a provision that would completely ban abortions once Roe v. Wade is overturned. Additionally, the bill has measures that would prohibit unborn babies from being aborted up to various limits between 14 weeks and 20 weeks if courts strike down the eight-week ban.
Missouri Right to Life told LifeNews after the bill signing: “We thank the Missouri House and Senate for their commitment this session to increase protections to both born and unborn children and their parents. We thank Governor Parson for his strong commitment to pro-life legislation and leadership in helping to pass these two important pro-life bills.”