Federal Court considers motion to lift two-year suspension of eight-week abortion ban in Missouri | Missouri

(The Center Square) – Two years before Texas lawmakers passed a law banning six-week abortions, the Missouri General Assembly passed a bill criminalizing eight-week abortions.

While Texas law includes civil liability for those who participate in abortions after six weeks, the Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act of 2019 prohibits abortions requested after eight weeks solely because of diagnosis, testing, or prenatal screening, doctors who do facing 15 years in prison.

The Texas law was challenged in the United States Supreme Court, which allowed it to come into force before upholding it. Missouri’s eight-week abortion ban, however, became mired in court challenges and was never implemented.

But that could change after the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard the state’s second appeal on Tuesday challenging a federal judge’s injunction against the passage of Bill 126 while a lawsuit against him continues.

Before HB 126, sponsored by Representative Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon, could be enacted, in June 2019, the Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis area, the only abortion provider in the State, have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the law. .

The following month, Judge Howard Sachs of the Western District of Missouri granted Planned Parenthood’s injunction, preventing the law from being enacted. Similar laws have been repealed in North Dakota and Iowa, he noted.

The state appealed Sach’s decision. On June 9, a three-judge panel from the 8th Circuit rejected the state’s argument and upheld the injunction. In July, the U.S. 8th Circuit announced that the 18 appellate judges would review the panel’s decision, indicating an interest in probation of HB 126 on abortions solely due to a diagnosis of Down syndrome.

Missouri Solicitor General John Sauer addressed the topic in court on Tuesday, saying that in some countries abortion rates are over 90% for fetuses diagnosed with Down syndrome.

“The community of people with Down syndrome is only a generation away from complete elimination due to the practice of eugenic abortion,” he said. “It is the crisis that Missouri enacted its Down syndrome provision against that is in court today.”

Sauer reiterated earlier arguments that HB 126 does not prohibit but regulates abortions. Opponents “are really trying to put this under the category of ‘ban’ when it is clearly a regulation,” he said.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America lawyer Susan Lambiase said HB 126 is a “blunt instrument to ban abortions based on a person’s personal reasons,” which “is not permitted by the Constitution”.

The court’s deliberations come as a Senate committee created to work with pro-life activists meets for the third time Thursday in Jefferson City.

The 10-member Interim Senate Medicaid Accountability and Taxpayer Protection Committee was established by Senate Speaker Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, and Majority Leader Caleb Rowden, R-Carthage, after adjourning the Senate in late June from a special session without considering a House-passed Bill funding Medicaid providers who, directly or through affiliates, provide abortion services .

This measure, HB 2, reportedly funded Planned Parenthood, which is affiliated with Reproductive Health Services in St. Louis.

The committee was created after the special session to appease pro-life conservatives with the stated purpose of “taking definitive action” by advancing the proposals outlined in HB 2.

In July, President Senator Bill White R-Joplin said a 2016 federal memo from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) allows states to “take certain action” against a supplier whose ability to provide services is questionable in a “safe and legal environment.” and ethics.

In August, St. Louis-area Planned Parenthood president Linda Raclin told the panel that lawmakers lack the power to reimburse claimants for political reasons without risking billions of dollars in federal benefits. health care.


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Joseph D. Whitman

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