Missouri Senate passes bill that would ban abortions, with no exception for rape or incest

Freshman Democratic state Sen. Karla May speaks during debate on new abortion bill

At 4:05 on Thursday morning, Missouri jumped into the queue of those states fighting to prove that women have no rights that men can’t take away. The state’s Republican-dominated Senate passed a bill that bans all abortions at eight weeks. There is an exception for medial emergencies, but no exception for any other reason—including none for cases of rape or incest. No exception for cases of human trafficking. Nothing.

The bill faces one more vote in the Missouri House, where it is expected to pass easily. Republican Gov. Mike Parson, who stepped in after the state’s last Republican governor left amid a sex scandal, has already said he will sign it. And, as in Alabama on Wednesday, Missouri Republicans left no doubt that they were out to squelch every single right of women as people, treating them as objects in which all-important fetuses happen to be located.

The Associated Press reports that badly outnumbered Democrats tried to slow down the bill’s progress. “So much of this bill is just shaming women into some kind of complacency that says we are vessels of pregnancy” said St. Louis-area Democratic Sen. Jill Schupp. But Republicans passed the bill along party lines, 24 to 10, with every single Republican voting to end the personhood of women.

Missouri consistently has among the worst rates of both maternal death and infant mortality in the nation. But the bill passed by the Senate offers nothing in the way of improvements to the health of either women or infants. 

Unlike the bill passed in Alabama, which is one of several designed to generate a challenge to Roe v. Wade, the Missouri bill is designed to ride in the wake of other states’. The eight-week ban wouldn’t kick in until a similar bill is upheld elsewhere—presumably after Roe has been overturned. That will make it difficult for groups trying to act immediately against the bill. And the bill is designed to generate court fights that go on roughly forever. Because if the eight-week ban is overturned, the bill has a fallback to 14 weeks. And should that be overturned, it has another fallback. And another—all of them short of the 22 weeks that’s the usual understanding of the earliest limit under Roe.

So while Missouri won’t have the honor of being the state that brings the case of Collins v. Honesty before Justice Beer, the state’s Republicans are celebrating the fact that, in one bill, they have managed to both crush the rights of women and bankrupt the state through legal actions. A win-win for their agenda. 

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