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The Journal Gazette

Friday, May 17, 2019 1:00 am

Briefs

Missouri about to add to strict abortion bans

News services

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A wide-ranging Missouri bill banning abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy was just one step away from going to a supportive Republican governor after the state Senate passed the measure Thursday.

The legislation needs only a final vote in the House, which already passed an earlier version, for Missouri to join a growing group of Midwestern and Southern states attempting to sharply limit abortions. Republican Gov. Mike Parson is likely to sign the bill; he rallied with supporters of it Wednesday.

Missouri's anti-abortion bill includes exceptions for medical emergencies but not for pregnancies caused by rape or incest. Doctors would face five to 15 years in prison for violating the eight-week cutoff. Women who receive abortions wouldn't be prosecuted.

McCarthy opposes Alabama statute

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Thursday that he opposes a new Alabama law that outlaws virtually all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest, arguing that it “goes further than I believe.”

“I believe in exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother, and that's what I've voted on,” McCarthy said at his weekly news conference.

Trump and the White House have been noticeably silent on the law. Among those criticizing the Alabama bill this week was longtime televangelist Pat Robertson, who decried it as “extreme.”

Gillibrand aims to codify protections

Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand says that, as president, she'd seek to write into law the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark ruling that legalized abortion.

During a rally at Georgia's state Capitol on Thursday, the New York senator criticized recent abortion bans signed into law in Mississippi, Kentucky, Ohio, Georgia and Alabama as “a nationwide assault on women's constitutional rights by ideological extremists.”

Gillibrand also pledged to end the Hyde Amendment, a legislative provision that prohibits the use of federal funds for any health benefits coverage that includes abortion.

Abortion foe OK'd for federal bench

The Senate confirmed Louisiana lawyer Wendy Vitter as a federal judge Thursday, overcoming opposition from Democrats who criticized her anti-abortion stance and accused her of trying to hide her record on the issue. Maine Sen. Susan Collins was the only Republican to oppose Vitter's nomination, which was approved 52-45.

A former prosecutor, Vitter is general counsel for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans and an outspoken abortion opponent.