Republican lawmakers in Missouri have passed a restrictive abortion bill that would ban abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy - the time when doctors say a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
The bill, H.B. 128, includes exceptions for medical emergencies, but not for any pregnancies that are the result of rape or incest.
The Missouri House voted in favor of H.B. 128 110-44. Under the bill, doctors who perform an abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy could face up to 15 years in prison. Women who receive abortions would not be charged.
At one point during the House debate, protesters had to be removed from the galley after a Democratic lawmaker blasted the bill and his fellow lawmakers for supporting it.
"When you each see me in this hallway remember what you are doing to little girls who were like me because that abuse is me and you simply don't care," the lawmaker said.
"To the women of the state and the women up here, I am sorry. I am sorry there aren't enough of us in this chamber to stop this. I am sorry you're viewed as second-class citizens. Now it's up to you to change this," she said.
The bill now heads for Governor Mike Parson's desk who is expected to sign it within the next week.
The bill will only be enacted if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
It's the latest bill restricting abortion that's been passed in recent weeks. Alabama, Georgia and several other states have recently passed restrictive abortion bills with the purpose of overturning the 1973 Supreme Court Decision that legalized abortion in the United States. Activists are hoping that a conservative Supreme Court will overturn more than 40 years of federal abortion protections.
"Gov. Parson is willfully aiding in the systematic downturn of health outcomes across our state, and banning safe, legal abortion is just the latest effort," said M’Evie Mead, the director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Missouri in a statement. "Shame on him for suggesting the government should have a say in when and whether someone becomes a parent."
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