Judge Blocks Missouri Law Banning Abortions on Babies With Beating Hearts

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Aug 27, 2019   |   6:26PM   |   Jefferson City, MO

A federal judge blocked the new heartbeat law in Missouri on Tuesday, allowing the abortion industry to continue destroying unborn babies’ lives in the state.

U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs’ order stops the state from enforcing most parts of the law, which prohibits abortions after 8 weeks when an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, St. Louis Public Radio reports.

However, his preliminary injunction does allow the state to enforce the non-discrimination section of the law, which protects unborn babies from being aborted because of their sex, race or a Down syndrome diagnosis, the report states.

The law was slated to go into effect Wednesday, but Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union sued to block it.

The Missouri Stands For the Unborn Act (HB 126) prohibits abortions after 8 weeks, once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable. However, it also includes incremental stages to ban abortions after 14 weeks, 18 weeks or 20 weeks if the earlier bans are overturned. In addition, it requires that both parents be notified before an underage girl has an abortion. It also includes a ban on discriminatory abortions based on an unborn baby’s sex, race or Down syndrome diagnosis, as well as a complete abortion ban once Roe v. Wade is overturned. Gov. Mike Parson signed it into law in May.

Sachs blocked each of the incremental bans as well as the 8-week ban.

“The various sections specifying prohibitions on abortions at various weeks prior to viability cannot be allowed to go into effect on August 28, as scheduled,” he wrote in his decision, The Hill reports.

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Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins said the lawsuit shows Planned Parenthood’s true nature.

“This case in Missouri shows Americans all they need to know about the unscrupulous, predatory abortion lobby, headed by Planned Parenthood,” Hawkins said. “… the abortion lobby consistently does an end run around voters to go straight to agenda-driven judges.

“Despite the fact that Missouri’s one abortion facility, a Planned Parenthood, has documented issues that cause harm to women, a judge has shamefully allowed it to continue operating without a license,” she continued. “This kind of blatant disregard for the people of America to have a voice on abortion policy is a result of the activism of the Supreme Court and will continue to motivate Americans at the ballot box.”

The ACLU filed the lawsuit earlier this month after its attempt at a voter referendum petition to overturn the law failed.

Earlier this week, the ACLU argued that the law would ban “the vast majority of pre-viability abortions” and prevent women from accessing “medical care,” the AP reports. It asked Sachs for a preliminary injunction to block the state from enforcing the law until the case can go to trial.

Lawyers for the state said Missouri wants to protect unborn babies’ lives as well as women’s. They also argued that Planned Parenthood does not have standing to sue the state.

According to the Missouri health department, 3,903 abortions were done in the state in 2017, and 119 of those were babies killed after 20 weeks.

Polling released earlier this year by the Susan B. Anthony 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 ACLU, Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups are involved in similar lawsuits in Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana and Ohio.

The Supreme Court took away the states’ ability to protect unborn babies from abortion under Roe v. Wade, and instead allowed abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy. Roe made the United States one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks.

Some pro-lifers have renewed hope that the new conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court will uphold an abortion ban and overturn Roe v. Wade. Others, however, are hesitant because of concerns about losing the court battle and being forced to reimburse pro-abortion groups for their legal fees.

It also is difficult to predict if the high court would take the case – especially after it recently refused to hear two other abortion-related cases.