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Missouri Court Rules on ‘Partial-Birth’ Abortion Ban

The Eastern District of the Missouri Court of Appeals court overturned the state’s late-term abortion ban because it does not contain an exception for the life or health of the woman, the Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report stated. Although the law, known as the Infant’s Protection Act, was passed in 2000 over Governor Mel Carnahan’s veto, the ban had been suspended until the courts ruled on its constitutionality, reported Kaiser. The US Supreme Court overturned a similar Nebraska ban on so-called “partial birth abortions” in the landmark 2000 case, Stenberg v. Carhart, citing a lack of life or health exception for the woman.

The law was deliberately vague in describing a late term abortion, creating a way for anti-abortion lawmakers to attempt to criminalize all abortions, according to Paula Gianino, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region. Late term abortions constitute less than 1 percent of all abortions in the United States, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute.

The phrase “partial-birth” abortion is an inaccurate and inflammatory term invented by the right wing and does not refer to any particular medical procedure. According to the College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the term is not recognized in the medical community. Abortion procedure bans such as these aim to outlaw or significantly chip away at a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal medical procedure.

Sources:

Alan Guttmacher Institute; Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report 11/21/02; Kansas City Star 11/20/02