A St. Louis federal appeals court panel on Wednesday blocked Missouri from enforcing a sweeping state abortion law that would ban the procedure at or after eight weeks of pregnancy.

Yamelsie Rodríguez, president and CEO of Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, called the ruling “a critical victory for Missourians,” according to an AP article Wednesday.

”For now, we celebrate our continued ability to provide safe, legal abortion at the last remaining clinic in Missouri,” Rodriguez said in a statement.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis heard a suit filed by Planned Parenthood of St. Louis against Gov. Mike Parson and the state in retaliation against the 2019 legislation HB 126, or Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act. The bill banned abortions at or after eight weeks of pregnancy with no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from incest, rape or if the fetus shows signs of developmental disabilities like Down Syndrome.

”We are relieved these laws remain blocked,” said Rachel Sweet, director of public policy and organizing for Planned Parenthood Great Plains. “Yet even though this is a victory, it’s important to remember that the fight isn’t over.

“With only one abortion-providing health center in the state, access to safe, legal abortion remains out of reach for too many people in Missouri,” Sweet said.

Planned Parenthood of Columbia has not been allowed to provide abortions since 2017. The only clinic in Missouri that provides abortions is in St. Louis.

“Today is an incredible victory for Missourians,” said Mallory Schwarz, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri.

“While we celebrate this triumph, HB 126 leaves behind a dark legacy in Missouri… We will continue to hold accountable politicians hellbent on banning abortion. Together, we will fight for the dignity of all people to control their bodies and futures, without political interference,” said Schwarz.

Melissa Ohden is the founder and director of the Abortion Survivors Network, a support group for people who survived an attempted abortion. “I am heartbroken for the countless lives lost and physical harm and emotional wounds created for women experiencing an abortion by this judicial decision,” Ohden said.

Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt said in a statement that the 8th Circuit’s decision “provide(s) an avenue for this case to be heard by the Supreme Court, and we plan to seek review in the Supreme Court.”

  • Assistant city editor, summer 2021. Former education reporter, spring 2021. I am a Masters student studying news editing. Reach me at madisonjstephens@mail.missouri.edu or on Twitter @MadiStephens6.

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