Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Ban Sails Through Missouri House; Would Ban Most Abortions After Fetal Heartbeat Detected, As Early As 6 Weeks

MISSOURI – The Missouri House passed a bill Wednesday banning abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detected, marking a significant push to make the state more restrictive on abortion.

The House voted 117-39 in favor of the legislation, which will ban abortions upon the presence of an unborn baby’s heartbeat and makes exceptions only in cases where the mother’s life is in danger. No exceptions for rape, incest or fetal abnormalities are included in the bill.

A heartbeat typically becomes detectable between six and nine weeks gestation.

The bill also bars abortion on the basis of “race, sex or indication of Down syndrome,” KCUR reported. A minor’s parents must be notified that she is seeking an abortion before she may continue on to have the procedure, according to the bill. Missouri residents referred for out-of-state abortions will receive the same informed consent booklet that women having in-state abortions receive, under the proposed bill.

Republican Missouri Rep. Nick Schroer sponsored the bill. “I think here in Missouri, we know that life is precious. We want to give women, men, young people the choice: the choice to live,” Schroer said, according to KCUR.

Missouri has only one abortion clinic.

Arkansas, North Dakota and Iowa have passed similar heartbeat abortion bans, but have faced injunctions and court orders preventing them from enforcing the bans.

The bill’s passage comes after the Trump administration issued a final rule Feb. 22 barring Title X funds from supporting programs and organizations that provide abortions and abortion referrals. The rule mandates abortion clinics and family planning clinics are separate, both physically and financially.

Democrats, however, managed to defeat the Born-Alive Survivors Protection Act in the Senate Monday. The bill would have ensured that babies who survive abortions are given medical attention and receive the “same protection of law as any newborn.”

Americans are split down the middle on abortion, with 47 percent of Americans identifying as pro-life and 47 percent identifying as pro-choice, according to a February Marist poll. The number of Democrats who say they’re pro-life rose 14 percent between January and February, the poll reveals.

Missouri’s fetal heartbeat bill must pass the state’s Senate before heading to Republican Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s desk to be enacted into law.

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