JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Legislation that would severely restrict abortions in Missouri is close to becoming law.
Leaders in Jefferson City say the House of Representatives will take up the legislation known as the ‘Heartbeat Bill’ on Friday, the last day of the legislative session.
This comes after the state Senate passed the 53-page bill along party lines around 4 a.m. Thursday. The bill bans abortions in Missouri at eight weeks in a pregnancy.
The bill has exceptions in cases of medical emergencies for the mother but none for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.
Also, doctors could be jailed for anywhere from 5 to 15 years if they perform abortions after the eight-week cutoff.
The House passed a version of the ‘Heartbeat Bill’ back in February but they must consider the bill again because the legislation passed by the Senate had some changes in areas like parental notification requirements for abortions involving minors.
Senate Democrats filibustered for several hours on Wednesday before the Senate went into recess and worked behind the scenes before taking a final vote.
The bill passed the Senate 24-10 with all Republicans voting for it and all Democrats against it.
“The importance here is saving lives. That’s our true intent. That’s why we crafted it the way we did,” said State Rep. Nick Schroer. “So once this does go to court, which we’re confident it will that will not be set aside, that it will continue to save lives until the court decide that it has withstood judicial scrutiny.”
Rep. Gina Mitten, a Democrat who represents part of south St. Louis City and St. Louis County, opposed the bill.
“A woman should be making these decisions and not her government. And I do believe that very strongly,” she said. “A woman should make these decisions for her own situation based upon her own faith, her own family, and all else that goes into such an incredibly difficult choice.”
There is no word on when exactly the House will take up the bill. The 2019 Legislative Session ends at 6 p.m.
Governor Mike Parson has already expressed support for the bill. It’s unclear when he might sign it.