August 20, 2019
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States in Midwest and South challenge 1973 legalization of abortion

 Photo of some supporters of the anti-abortion laws extending through the Midwest and South of the United States that defy the legalization of abortion in force since 1973 based on a Supreme Court ruling in the case of Roe v. Wade. EFE-EPA/File

Photo of some supporters of the anti-abortion laws extending through the Midwest and South of the United States that defy the legalization of abortion in force since 1973 based on a Supreme Court ruling in the case of Roe v. Wade. EFE-EPA/File

By Jorge Mederos.

Chicago, May 17 (efe-epa).- A wave of anti-abortion laws extending through the Midwest and South of the United States defy the legalization of abortion in force since 1973 based on a Supreme Court ruling.

Groups defending the reproductive rights of women say the new state laws, besides being "unconstitutional," are a concerted effort to force an annulment of the famous decision in the case of Roe v. Wade.

Missouri seems to be the next state to join the anti-abortion trend, which has already won over Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Iowa, North Dakota and Georgia.

After getting the green light from the Senate, the Missouri House of Representatives, controlled by Republicans, is hurrying to pass a law this Friday banning abortion after the eighth week of pregnancy.

The Republican governor of Missouri, Mike Parson, supports the bill, so it is taken for granted that he will sign it into law as soon as it is approved by the state legislature.

In Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, enacted a law this week that bans abortion in any phase of pregnancy and imposes a sentence from 10 years to life in prison on doctors who perform the operation.

This law makes an exception in cases where pregnancy represents a serious risk to the woman's health, but not in cases of pregnancy due to rape or incest.

Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Iowa, North Dakota and Georgia passed laws in recent weeks that ban abortion once the heartbeat of the fetus is detected.

In other states like Texas, where Republicans are in the majority, attempts to impose that ruling have failed. The same occurred in Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says the laws "are part of a concerted, national effort to eliminate access to safe and legal abortion," which was protected by the 1973 court ruling.

The chief counsel of the Center for Reproductive Rights, Elisabeth Smith, said this Friday that "these laws are blatantly unconstitutional."

"If they were allowed to go into force, they would have devastating consequences for the residents of all of these states," the attorney, who together with the ACLU is taking legal steps to block those measures, added in a statement

The text of the Missouri bill establishes that violation of this ruling will be considered a class B felony, which will make doctors liable for sentences of up to 15 years imprisonment and the suspension of their professional licenses.

Women who have abortions will not be punished.

Gov. Parson told the media that "it's time to make Missouri the most Pro-Life state in the country!"

Missouri now joins the other states imposing restrictions on abortion in the US, trusting that in the future the Supreme Court with its new conservative makeup will annul the legalization approved 46 years ago.

According to the ACLU, "Politicians pass draconian, blatantly unconstitutional abortion restrictions knowing they will get blocked while planning to appeal every legal challenge until they force the Supreme Court to outlaw abortion."

The law in Alabama will not take effect for six months, but is already being contested by the ACLU and the Alabama Women's Center.

Meanwhile, abortion continues to be legal throughout the United States, though confusion exists among potential patients about the prohibitions enacted by the individual states.

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