Federal Judges Panel: Missouri’s 8-Week Abortion Ban Cannot Be Enforced

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Newsweek reports that a panel of federal appeals judges has ruled that Missouri cannot enforce its 2019 law that bans abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy.

The three judges on St. Louis’ 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in the lawsuit in September of 2020 before announcing their decision Wednesday. Reproductive Health Services, operator of the St. Louis abortion clinic, and the American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit.

The abortion law, which also would have barred women from seeking abortions after a Down syndrome diagnosis for the fetus, had been blocked by a federal judge while the legal battle was taking place.

According to The Associated Press, Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt expressed “disappointment” in the decision but said it presented a vehicle for taking the issue to the Supreme Court.

“While we’re disappointed in the 8th Circuit’s decision, their decision does provide an avenue for this case to be heard by the Supreme Court, and we plan to seek review in the Supreme Court.”

U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs said at the time of his ruling last year that Planned Parenthood and the ACLU would likely succeed in their lawsuit alleging that the law is unconstitutional. Similar laws have been struck down in North Dakota and Iowa.

The AP noted that Missouri “is among several conservative states in recent years that have passed abortion restrictions in hopes that the increasingly conservative Supreme Court will eventually overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a nationwide right to abortion.”

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Image: Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R). (Screengrab / KMBC 9 / YouTube)

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