Missouri Governor Mike Parson has signed a bill which will make abortions illegal after the eighth week of pregnancy, joining five other US states that have recently adopted similar legislation.
Doctors who perform abortions in Missouri after the eight-week cutoff could face up to 15 years in prison under the new law, scheduled to come into effect on August 28. It does not provide for prosecution of expectant mothers who decide to end their own pregnancies.
The bill includes exemptions for medical emergencies, when there is risk of serious injury or death to the mother, though no exceptions are made for victims of incest or rape.
Out of the five similar bills that recently passed, only Georgia’s included the rape and incest exemption.
Alabama signed its own abortion ban into law last week, the “Human Life Protection Act,” which will criminalize the abortion procedure outright as a felony punishable up to 99 years in prison – applicable only to doctors. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed the bill almost immediately after it passed the state Senate.
Earlier this month, within days of one another, Ohio, Georgia and Mississippi passed a trio of “fetal heartbeat” laws, which prohibit abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, about the period of time before doctors can detect a heartbeat in a fetus.
Federal Judge Carlton Reeves blocked the Mississippi legislation on Friday, having previously struck down a proposed 15-week ban.
“Doesn’t it boil down to six is less than 15?” Reeves asked at a hearing earlier this week, adding that the new bill “smacks of defiance to this court.”
A hub of the entertainment industry, Georgia’s law struck a particular chord with American celebrities, even prompting actress and #MeToo figurehead Alyssa Milano to call for a “sex strike,” apparently meant to shame pro-life men out of their politics by denying them sex.
A number of film and television production companies announced they would stop doing business in Georgia in response to the law.