Missouri bans nearly all abortions after fall of Roe v. Wade

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The trigger ban was part of House Bill 126, passed by the General Assembly in 2019. It states the abortion ban goes into effect as soon as the governor or attorney general certifies Roe v. Wade has been overturned, or the legislature enacts a resolution to the same effect. Within minutes of the SCOTUS decision, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a Republican running for U.S. Senate, issued that opinion.

Women in Missouri will now have fewer reproductive rights than generations of women before them after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade Friday, June 24.

Supreme Court decision & state trigger ban

The top court’s monumental 6-3 decision to end constitutional protections for abortion and leave reproductive rights up to states means Missouri’s trigger ban law now takes effect. Under the state law, abortions will only be allowed to be performed in the state in cases of a medical emergency that threaten the life of the pregnant person or “create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.” There are no exceptions for rape, incest or human trafficking.

The law also bans a woman from aborting a fetus that might have Down syndrome and also requires both parents or guardians be notified before minors can get an abortion in most cases.

While the law does not include penalties for a person who tries to get an abortion that is not a medical emergency, it does make it a Class B felony for a provider to induce an abortion. These felonies carry a possible 5- to 15-year prison sentence.

The trigger ban was part of House Bill 126, passed by the General Assembly in 2019. It states the abortion ban goes into effect as soon as the governor or attorney general certifies Roe v. Wade has been overturned, or the legislature enacts a resolution to the same effect. Within minutes of the SCOTUS decision, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a Republican running for U.S. Senate, issued that opinion.

“Following the SCOTUS ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, Missouri has just become the first in the country to effectively end abortion with our AG opinion signed moments ago. This is a monumental day for the sanctity of life,” the AG wrote on Twitter Friday.

In a statement, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, also a Republican, said he was pleased power was restored to states.

“Nothing in the text, history or tradition of the United States Constitution gave unelected federal judges authority to regulate abortion,” he said.

Reactions to decision

As the news broke of the SCOTUS ruling Friday, health care advocates and state leaders taking part in a roundtable discussion at Missouri’s last abortion clinic in St. Louis reacted.

“Oh my gosh,” U.S. Rep. Cori Bush said Friday morning. “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh. Forty-nine years, 49 years. I’m sorry. Forty-nine years and they strip it away. ... Thirty-six million people will be affected and it’s, ‘Oh well.’”

“I’m feeling dismayed that it’s 2022 and this is where we’re at,” Michelle Trupiano, executive director of the Missouri Family Health Council, said. “And I am scared for all of the people today and yet to come that all of a sudden don’t know what they’re going to do.”

The U.S. Supreme Court case at the heart of the matter that now has life-changing consequences for millions of Missourians and others in states that have passed restrictive abortion laws is Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. It concerned a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

In upholding Mississippi’s law, the conservative majority of the nation’s highest court also reversed the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that declared a woman has a constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy before the point of viability- within the first two trimesters when a fetus is unable to survive outside a womb.

“The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives,” the court’s decision reads.

The SCOTUS ruling came more than a month after the leak of a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito indicating the court was prepared to end the constitutional protections.

In the final opinion Friday, Alito wrote that Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 decision that reaffirmed the right to abortion, were wrong the day they were decided.

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision,” Alito wrote.

Joining Alito were Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Coney Barrett are President Donald Trump court appointees.

Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented.

“With sorrow — for this court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent,” they wrote.

In addition to Missouri, nearly half the states in the country are now expected to have stricter abortion laws. The ruling is expected to disproportionately affect minority women who already face limited access to health care, according to statistics analyzed by The Associated Press.

Managing Editor Amanda Lubinski can be reached at amanda.lubinski@mycouriertribune.com or 903-6001.