Hours after Alabama’s governor signed a bill to ban almost all abortions, Missouri leapt into the abortions arms race: Early Thursday morning, the state Senate passed a bill to ban abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy, according to the Associated Press.
The bill includes exceptions for a medical emergency, but not for rape or incest. It will now return to the state House of Representatives, which already approved an earlier version of the bill, and then to Republican Gov. Mike Parson for his signature.
Parson has made no secret of his support for the bill.
“It's time to make Missouri the most Pro-Life state in the country!” he tweeted hours before the bill passed. “Thanks to leaders in the House and Senate, we are one vote away from passing one of the strongest #ProLife bills in the country — standing for life, protecting women’s health, and advocating for the unborn.”
Abortion opponents, emboldened by the Supreme Court’s new conservative majority and a Republican president, have enjoyed unprecedented success in recent weeks in their reported strategy to trigger a challenge to Roe v. Wade with ever-stricter abortion bills. On Wednesday, Alabama’s Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law a bill that would ban almost all abortions in the state — without exceptions for rape or incest — and imprison doctors who perform the procedure for up to 99 years. (The bill is not set to go into effect for months, and abortion rights advocates have vowed to sue.) Last week, Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp approved a bill that would ban abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. (It is also not yet in effect.)
So far this year, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio have also voted in favor of so-called “heartbeat” bills, though none are in effect yet. Utah and Arkansas approved bills that would ban abortion after 18 weeks of pregnancy.
In total, 45 states have introduced more than 350 provisions restricting abortion in 2019, according to the Guttmacher Institute. So far this session, 14 bills that ban abortion in some way — including Alabama’s — have been enacted.
After Parson comments, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Missouri Director M’Evie Mead pledged in a statement, “Missourians will respond — we will mobilize and raise our voices until politicians start listening. We will respond — in our communities and at the ballot box. This attack on health care and freedom will not go unanswered.”
Missouri, with a population of more than 6 million, has just one abortion clinic.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of the headline on this story incorrectly said that the Missouri legislature had passed the bill.
Cover: In this Jan. 16, 2019, file photo, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson delivers his State of the State address in Jefferson City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)