Missouri became the sixth state to ban abortions after 20 weeks gestation when Gov. Jay Nixon allowed pro-life legislation restricting late-term abortions to become law yesterday. Although Gov. Nixon is not pro-life, he allowed the 45-day waiting period to expire without vetoing or signing the legislation.
In March the Missouri House passed the bill in an overwhelming 119-38 vote; similar legislation was passed in the Senate by a 27-5 vote in April.
The bill allows exceptions for when the physical life of the mother is at risk and in cases of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function. Even in these cases, the measure still requires an abortionist to make efforts to end the pregnancy in a way that maximizes the unborn child’s chances of survival. If the abortionist cannot do this, because the risks to the mother are too great, then he has to detail his reasons in an individual report to the state board of healing arts.
The doctor will also need a second concurring opinion from an independent physician with no “legal or financial affiliation or relationship” in order to perform the abortion on a viable baby. And finally, the abortionist will have to have another physician present when he induces the woman to end the pregnancy, who can then immediately take steps to try to save the viable unborn child born from the abortion.
Abortionists who deliberately violate the law could face a felony charge, carrying between one to seven years in prison, and incur fines between $10,000 and $50,000. Both abortionists and hospitals violating the law could lose their licenses to practice medicine or operate.