Missouri Legislature Approves Late-Term Abortion Bill

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Yesterday, the Missouri state legislature gave its final approval to a bill that criminalizes abortions after twenty weeks if it's shown that the fetus is developed enough to survive outside the uterus.

If signed into law, the bill would provide stiff penalties for doctors who perform the newly-prohibited procedures -- a year in jail, suspension or revocation of their medical license, and fines of up to $50,000.

In order to perform an abortion after twenty weeks, a doctor must either prove that the mother's life is in danger, or certify that the fetus is not not viable. Proof of viability would include tests to determine the gestational age, weight and lung capacity of the fetus.

The doctor also needs a second doctor to sign off on findings of viability. And if the fetus is not viable, they have to report the abortion and their proof of their findings to the State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts.

The bill passed in the Missouri Senate last month, 27-5. It passed in the Missouri House yesterday, 121-33. The next stop is on the desk of Gov. Jay Nixon. Any veto seems ripe for an override, considering the margins by which the bill passed.

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