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In 1973, the US Supreme Court legalised abortions - there was a minimal period during which the procedure would be allowed and further restrictions were implemented the longer the pregnancy went on. But, nonetheless, it became legal to have a termination.
Fast forward to 2019 and Missouri has become the latest US state to pass a controversial bill that would make all abortions illegal from eight weeks of pregnancy.
This bill was approved on Thursday (16 May) by a Republican-led Senate and then by the House of Representatives the following day (17 May).
Now, according to the BBC, Republican Governor Mike Parson is now expected to sign the bill so it can become law.
If the bill is approved, abortions past eight weeks would be banned in most cases, which is believed to include pregnancies that are a result of rape or incest. The proposal outlines exceptions, which would only occur in medical emergencies.
Jill Schupp, Missouri state Senator and Democrat, condemned the potential move for failing to understand that 'women's lives all hold different stories'.
House Minority Leader Crystal Quade told the Associated Press that there's no liberty in Missouri when government strips women of control of their own bodies. She also added that it's 'shameful' and 'scary' that there are no exceptions for rape or incest, only for medical emergencies.
The Missouri legislation comes after Alabama's governor signed a bill on Wednesday making it a felony to perform an abortion in nearly all cases.
Governor Kay Ivey signed the legislation, meaning doctors can be sentenced to 99 years behind bars for aborting a baby and 10 years for attempting the procedure.
The Missouri Section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says it strongly opposes the threat of criminal penalties for delivering 'evidence based, necessary health care'.
Missouri legislators approved restrictions on abortions that would punish doctors with up to 15 years in prison if they provide the procedure from the eighth week of pregnancy onward.
.@ACOG stands firmly against #abortionbans. Abortion #AccessIs essential for our patient's health and these medically-unnecessary restrictions constitute political interference in the practice of medicine. #stopthebans Read our full statement: https://t.co/vRluPwxa9W pic.twitter.com/S3jteZUEGq
- ACOG Action (@ACOGAction) May 17, 2019
The doctors said in a statement that the legislation would force them to decide between their patients' needs and facing criminal proceedings. It urged the state government to allow them to practice medicine freely and without the threat of criminal punishment.
The measure would not punish the pregnant woman.
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