The Missouri House has given initial approval to a proposal to ban most abortions after a fetus is 20-weeks-old.
The legislation creates the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” in which abortions are prohibited unless necessary to avoid a woman’s death or serious risk of loss of a major bodily function. A doctor who violated the restriction would be subject to discipline by a licensure board.
Supporters of the bill, including the groups Concerned Women for America and Missouri Right to Life, say there is scientific evidence a fetus can feel pain 22 into a pregnancy and abortion at or after that age is painful for the fetus. Opponents of the proposal include Naral Pro-Choice Missouri, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri. They claim the bill is unconstitutional and say if there’s an issue with the development of the fetus, it is more humane to allow it to be aborted painlessly instead of being born into a short life of pain.
If the measure is passed into law, Missouri would join roughly 20 other states with similar restrictions. The bill will still need one more vote in the House before it can move to the Senate.