Federal appeals court to hear Missouri abortion case

A federal appeals court will consider Tuesday whether Missouri can implement sweeping law to limit abortions.

The law passed in 2019 would ban abortions in or around the eighth week of pregnancy. It would also ban abortions based on a diagnosis of Down’s syndrome.

The 8th U.S. Court of Appeals in St. Louis is not expected to rule for several weeks.

In June, a panel of three judges for the 8th Circuit upheld an injunction from U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs barring Missouri from enforcing the provisions. Most discussions during the panel hearing focused on the provision banning abortions because the fetus is diagnosed with Down syndrome.

But the full court then decided to hear the case, a decision that Yamelsie Rodríguez, president and CEO of Reproductive Health Services at Planned Parenthood in the St. Louis area, called “another disturbing signal. in a long line of threats to our reproductive freedom. “

The Missouri attorney general’s office defends the law.

Sachs said in his 2020 ruling that he believes Planned Parenthood and the ACLU would likely succeed in their lawsuit challenging the law as unconstitutional. Similar laws have been repealed in North Dakota and Iowa.

Lawmakers who helped draft the Missouri law said it was supposed to withstand legal challenges. It included a provision that if the eight-week ban were lifted, a series of less restrictive abortion limits would come into effect at 14, 18 or 20 weeks. But the courts have blocked the application of all these limits so far.

Attorney General Eric Schmitt wants the US Supreme Court to decide the case. In a July court filing, Schmitt, a Republican, said the Supreme Court should consider whether the Missouri restrictions are “reasonable abortion regulations.”

Schmitt also said the High Court should use the case to decide whether to overturn its Roe v. Wade from 1973, which established a national abortion right any time before a fetus can survive outside the womb, which is roughly week 24.

The Missouri Law Appeals Court case comes weeks after the United States Supreme Court authorized a texan law which prohibits abortions once healthcare professionals can detect heart activity, which is usually around six weeks after the onset of a pregnancy.

The Supreme Court also agreed to consider authorizing the execution of a Mississippi Law which would ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, which could significantly change nearly 50 years of legal precedents on abortion rights.

Missouri is one of several conservative states that have passed restrictions on abortion in hopes that the increasingly conservative Supreme Court will eventually overturn Roe v. Wade.


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Joseph D. Whitman

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