Missouri House expected to vote on abortion bill Friday, the final day of session

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri's abortion bill is expected to become law Friday. If that happens, it's widely considered to be one of the strongest abortion bills to pass in the country.

House Bill 126, also known as the “Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act," was passed by the House of Representatives in February and moved on to the Senate.

After making some tweaks, the Senate passed the bill early Thursday, so it headed back to the House later that morning. State representatives spent the day debating other bills and did not get to H.B. 126.

Instead, lawmakers adjourned and will reconvene Friday morning, the last day of the legislative session.

If the House passes the bill, which they are expected to, Gov. Mike Parson has said he will sign it into law.

The bill as it stands would ban abortion at eight weeks into a pregnancy, the only exemption is for a medical emergency. Doctors would face five to 15 years in prison for violating the eight-week cutoff. Women who receive abortions wouldn't be prosecuted.

Although there was no formal discussion of Missouri’s abortion bill on the house floor Thursday, it was all anyone was talking about.

“This is a bill that I think a lot of people are going to find offensive,” Rep. Greg Razor said.

House Democrats are holding out hope that rape and incest, which are not included as exceptions to the eight-week abortion ban, could squash the bill when it hits the floor for debate. It's a long shot, but the only shot that those who oppose the bill say they have.

“So literally if a father rapes his 13-year-old daughter, she will be required to carry that child,” Razer said. “I think even those who consider themselves pro-life will have a problem without having that exemption.”

Rep. Rusty Black is one of only a few Republicans willing to publicly comment about the abortion bill.

“What I decide right now, whether I have a position, I don’t know,” Black said after learning that rape and incest are not exempt from the proposed law.

A former teacher, Black said he had a student experience a situation similar to the ones that would now not be included in the eight-week abortion exception.

“It is going to cause me to re-evaluate and consider stuff again, but I think I am still very, very supportive of it,” Black said.

Some say that's by design. It's sure to foster legal challenges, and it's the hope of some Republicans the case will end up in the Supreme Court and, as a result, possibly overturn the federal abortion law, Roe v. Wade.

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