On Friday, Missouri Gov. Michael L. Parson signed controversial legislation banning abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy. Exceptions are provided for medical emergencies but not for incest or rape.
With this new bill, doctors who perform an abortion after the eighth week could be imprisoned for five to 15 years. Women who receive an abortion would not be criminally charged, according to NBC.
“By signing this bill today, we are sending a strong signal to the nation that, in Missouri, we stand for life, protect women’s health, and advocate for the unborn. All life has value and is worth protecting,” the Republican governor said in a statement Friday, NBC reports. “Thanks to decades of pro-life leadership, Missouri recently hit an all-time low for the number of abortions. We’ve gone from a high of more than 20,000 in our state, to now below 3,000.”
Of course, pro-choice advocates spoke out against the latest ban, calling it out of touch. “Missouri Gov. Mike Parson just signed the kitchen sink of extreme abortion bans, with every dangerous provision they could pack in one egregious bill. He and his counterparts in Alabama, Ohio, Mississippi, and Georgia are showing the American people what it looks like to be out of touch with science and reality,” said Leana Wen, the president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund in a statement Friday.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Nicholas B. Schroer, has maintained his support of stripping reproductive rights from women and victimized girls.
“While others are zeroing in on ways to overturn Roe v. Wade and navigate the courts as quickly as possible, that is not our goal,” he said. “However, if and when that fight comes we will be fully ready.”
M’Evie Mead, the director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Missouri, said, “People need to know that this ban is not in effect—yet. Abortion is still legal in this state and Planned Parenthood Advocates will do everything we can to protect access to abortion in Missouri.”