Missouri moves to ban abortion at eight weeks

Missouri is set to become the latest US state to introduce strict laws on abortion after the state’s senate approved a bill that would ban abortion beyond eight weeks, including in cases of rape and incest.

Only medical emergencies would be exempt.

It came hours after Alabama on Wednesday introduced a law banning almost all abortions.

The Missouri bill, known as the Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act, is expected to pass the state’s Republican-controlled House and be signed by Mike Parson, the Republican governor.

Its authors called it "one of the most pro-life bills in the United States".

Dave Schatz, president of the state senate, said: "This comprehensive, life-affirming legislation prohibits abortions once a heartbeat has been detected. If we eliminate abortion in this state we would be happy to see that occur."

Doctors would face up to 15 years in prison for violating the eight-week cutoff.

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Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia have already approved bans on abortion once a foetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur in about the sixth week of pregnancy.

Strict abortion laws in a number of states follow Donald Trump’s appointment of more conservative justices to the US Supreme Court.

Such laws conflict with Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision in the Supreme Court which legalised abortion nationally.

The anti-abortion movement hopes to spark a case that might lead the court to overturn Roe v. Wade.

But Pat Robertson, the US televangelist, called the Alabama law "extreme" and said it may not be the best case to take to the Supreme Court.

He said: "I think Alabama has gone too far. It’s an extreme law and they want to challenge Roe v. Wade. But my humble view is that this is not the case we want to bring to the Supreme Court, because I think this one will lose."

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