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Appeals Court Strikes Down Missouri Abortion Law

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis today has blocked the state of Missouri from enforcing a 2019 law that would ban abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy.

The three judge panel released their ruling after hearing arguments in the case involving the 2019 law in September.

The lawsuit was filed by Reproductive Health Services, which operates the St. Louis abortion clinic, and the American Civil Liberties Union. A federal judge had blocked the law while the legal challenge plays out, prompting the state’s appeal to the 8th Circuit.

U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs said at the time of his ruling last year that Planned Parenthood and the ACLU would likely succeed in their lawsuit alleging that the law is unconstitutional. Similar laws have been struck down in North Dakota and Iowa.

Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt said in a statement the state plans to seek review in the Supreme Court. Missouri is among several conservative states in recent years that have passed abortion restrictions in hopes that the increasingly conservative Supreme Court will eventually overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a nationwide right to abortion.

Last month, the Supreme Court voted 6-3 to take on a case about whether states can ban abortions before a fetus can survive outside the womb. Experts say the case could dramatically alter nearly 50 years of rulings on abortion rights.

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