A judge for the US District Court for the Western District of Missouri on Tuesday blocked Missouri’s 8-week abortion ban from going into effect.
Missouri’s governor signed the law in May of this year, making it illegal to for any pregnant individual in the state to have access to an abortion after eight weeks, unless it is a medical emergency. There were no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. The law was set to take effect Wednesday.
“The Supreme Court’s prohibition on a State’s selecting a specific fetal age where abortion could be prohibited has been enforced in many cases,” Judge Howard Sachs wrote, citing examples of 20-week limits being struck down. “It is thus highly likely that the listed weekly time limits on abortions will be ruled invalid in the final judgment in this case.”
In June, a Missouri Circuit court judge granted the state’s last abortion clinic, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, a temporary restraining order, keeping its license active and allowing it to continue its services until a future preliminary injunction decision. The ruling was issued hours before this clinic was set to close, and it was extended further a week later.
Anti-abortion advocates and proponents of the law hope to appeal and bring the question before the Supreme Court in an attempt to overturn precedent of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Sachs wrote Monday that the state law strategy was an attempt at such.
“While federal courts should generally be very cautious before delaying the effect of State laws, the sense of caution may be mitigated when the legislation seems designed, as here, as a protest against Supreme Court decisions.”
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