Missouri Abortion Limits in the Crosshairs

      ST. LOUIS (CN) — Three Democratic lawmakers say they will file bills to ease Missouri’s abortion restrictions, in the wake of the June ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court that struck down two similar restrictions in Texas.
     The Texas restrictions required abortion clinics to have the same safety standards as outpatient surgical centers and required doctors who perform abortions to have privileges at a nearby hospital.
     Missouri was the first state in the nation to adopt both restrictions, in 1986 and 2005, respectively.
     Since Missouri was the first to approve the laws, the three lawmakers on Wednesday called on their colleagues to be the first to repeal them. The three are state Sens. Jamilah Nasheed of St. Louis and. Jill Schupp of ­Creve Coeur, and state Rep. Stacey Newman of ­St. Louis.
     “(We have) women on our side, the medical community on our side, now the highest law of the land on our side,” Schupp said in a Wednesday conference call.
     Getting support will be an uphill battle in Missouri’s Republican-dominated Legislature. Nasheed said there were nearly a dozen abortion restrictions passed in the last legislative session alone.
     The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that the restrictions in Texas were medically unnecessary and unconstitutional. But that ruling did not automatically invalidate the same restrictions in Missouri, which will require either legislative or court action.
     Newman said that change in Missouri will likely have to take place through the courts, but hopes the Supreme Court ruling will give supporters momentum.
     “This is not all going to be decided by legislation,” Newman said.
     Supporters of the restrictions say they protect women’s health and safety.
     Opponents say they are so strict that few abortion providers can meet them, and that they actually endanger women’s health.
     In Missouri, only Planned Parenthood in St. Louis provides abortions.
     Attorney General Chris Koster’s Office told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he is reviewing the Texas case.

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