Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union are taking the state of Missouri to court over strict legislation banning abortion eight weeks into a pregnancy, often before a person knows they are pregnant.
The Missouri branches of the organizations filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Jefferson City on Tuesday, more than two months after Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed the bill into law. The legislation, HB126, makes an exception for medical emergencies, but not for cases involving incest or rape.
Doctors who are caught performing an abortion after the eight-week cutoff could face a felony charge and up to 15 years in prison. The law is scheduled to take effect on Aug. 28.
The lawsuit asks the district court to reverse the law, claiming that it’s unconstitutional. The suit also asks for a temporary restraining order to block the law from taking effect, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
BREAKING: We just sued to challenge HB126, the set of extreme laws that criminalize abortion and ban access at nearly every stage of pregnancy.For years, anti-abortion politicians have been pushing care further out of reach for Missourians. Enough is enough. pic.twitter.com/YyeKwkBwlI
— ACLU of Missouri (@aclu_mo) July 30, 2019
“These laws would outlaw the vast majority of abortions in the state. They’re unconstitutional, they’re wrong, and we’re fighting back,” the ACLU said in a statement.
“These extreme measures would be devastating for Missourians seeking abortion care, and especially impact low-income patients and people of color,” the group continued, adding, “we won’t stop until these laws are blocked once and for all.”
Planned Parenthood and the ACLU have filed similar lawsuits in other states in response to a wave of harsh anti-abortion legislation that was passed across the country this year.
The groups sued Georgia last month to block a law set to take effect in 2020 that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy or as soon as a doctor can detect a “fetal heartbeat.”
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