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Judge blocks Missouri 8-week abortion ban

Posted at 10:30 AM, Aug 27, 2019

A federal judge on Tuesday blocked a Missouri law banning abortions after eight weeks from going into effect.

"The various sections specifying prohibitions on abortions at various weeks prior to viability cannot be allowed to go into effect on August 28, as scheduled," writes Judge Howard Sachs in an 11-page opinion.

Tuesday's ruling comes after two other federal judges blocked similar abortion restrictions in Arkansas and Ohio earlier this summer, as the slew of state laws looking to challenge Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark ruling legalizing abortion nationwide, make their way through the courts.

The Missouri law in question would penalize medical professionals who perform abortions after eight weeks into a pregnancy -- before many women know that they are pregnant, and well before the 24-week viability standard established by Roe -- with up to 15 years in prison. The law does not include exceptions for instances of rape or incest, only for instances of "medical emergency," such to prevent a pregnant woman's death or "substantial and irreversible physical impairment."

Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union and Paul, Weiss -- the law firm that argued in support of legalizing same-sex marriage in a landmark Supreme Court case -- filed the case last month.

The law would ban abortion outright should the Supreme Court overturn Roe. It also includes bans on abortion at 14, 18 and 20 weeks, which could go into effect if a court finds the eight-week ban invalid.