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Missouri

Post-Viability Abortion Restriction

Missouri's post-viability abortion restriction states that no abortion may be provided after viability unless necessary to preserve the woman's life or physical health.   A physician providing abortion care after 20 weeks gestational age must perform extensive viability testing and report such findings to the state health department. The physician must use the available method most likely to preserve the life and health of the fetus unless it poses a greater risk to the woman's life or health than another available method.  The physician must take all reasonable steps, consistent with good medical practice and with the procedure used, to preserve the life and health of the fetus unless such steps pose an increased risk to the woman's life or health.  A second physician must attend.  Violation of this law is a class C felony punishable by a prison term of not less than one year and a fine of not less than $10,000.  Mo. Ann. Stat. § 188.030 (Enacted 1974; Last Amended 2011).

The U.S. Supreme Court held that the second-physician requirement is constitutional.  Planned Parenthood Ass'n of Kansas City, Mo. v. Ashcroft, 462 U.S. 476 (1983).

In addition, another court held that the other provisions of this ban that predated the 2011 addition of the extensive fetal viability testing at 20 weeks are also constitutional.  Planned Parenthood Ass'n of Kansas City, Mo. v. Ashcroft, 655 F.2d 848 (8th Cir. 1981).

NARAL Pro-Choice America supports the legal framework established in Roe v. Wade and does not oppose restrictions on post-viability abortion, such as Missouri's, that contain adequate exceptions to protect the woman's life and health.


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