The Corner

Politics & Policy

Planned Parenthood and ACLU Try to Block Missouri’s Pro-Life Law

On Monday, Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union asked a U.S. district judge to issue a temporary restraining order to stop a pro-life law in Missouri from taking effect tomorrow as scheduled, pending a lawsuit against it. The Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act was passed in May and prohibits abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which usually occurs somewhere between six and eight weeks’ gestation.

The law also bans abortions based on race, sex, or Down syndrome diagnosis, and it includes other restrictions on abortion from anywhere between 14 weeks to 20 weeks, crafted to go into effect if the heartbeat portion of the law is struck down.

Both the ACLU and Planned Parenthood of St. Louis filed a lawsuit against the state of Missouri in late July, insisting that the law is unconstitutional and prevents “the vast majority of patients from obtaining the constitutionally protected medical care they seek,” according to the suit. Because that challenge has yet to be decided, the organizations want district judge Howard Sachs to stop the law from going into effect until the lawsuit has been resolved.

Missouri’s pro-life law was one of several passed in red states earlier this year, including similar heartbeat bills in Georgia, Ohio, and Mississippi, as well as one enacted in Louisiana by Democratic lawmakers. The district judge in Missouri is set to announce today whether he will grant Planned Parenthood and the ACLU’s request to block the law until the pending lawsuit is decided.

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