Missouri set to ban most abortions if Roe v. Wade falls

Published: May. 3, 2022 at 1:44 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KY3/AP) - Missouri is slated to ban most abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court undoes Roe v. Wade, as a draft opinion leaked late Monday suggests.

Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt said he would take immediate action to allow an abortion ban to take effect if the landmark ruling is overturned.

“If we’re successful and Roe v. Wade is overturned, I’m prepared to immediately issue the opinion that would protect the unborn in Missouri,” Attorney General Schmitt said.

The GOP-led Legislature passed the abortion ban in 2019, hoping that the 1973 ruling would later be tossed out.

Under the 2019 law, abortions would only be allowed to save the mother’s life. Performing an illegal abortion would be a felony punishable by five to 15 years in prison.

That law, the Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act, created a Trigger Law in the state. What that means is as soon as Roe is overturned, abortions would be illegal.

“They’re conditional. They’re recognizing that under current law, the law that will go into effect is unconstitutional. It wouldn’t pass constitutional scrutiny. But if Roe vs. Wade is overturned, then that law is waiting to be put into effect,” said Dr. Kevin Pybas, a professor of constitutional law at Missouri State.

Yamelsie Rodríguez, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, in a statement, said abortion is legal in Missouri and said patients should show up for their appointments.

“No matter what, with our partners, we will fight for what little is left of abortion access in Missouri and push forward to expand in Illinois where abortion access is protected beyond Roe,” Rodríguez said.

The draft that was leaked is not part of the Freedom of Information Act, so someone in the Supreme Court had to have leaked it.

“The only people that would have access to it are the justices and their clerks,” said Dr. Pybas.

The official ruling is supposed to come out this summer.

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