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Missouri ‘Stands for the Unborn Act’ (HB 126)

This law was last updated on Sep 30, 2019


HB 126 is an omnibus abortion bill that bans abortion at eight weeks’ gestation; and would trigger a statewide abortion ban if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. 

Trigger Law

The bill declares that the state and all of its political subdivisions are a “sanctuary of life” that protects “pregnant women and their unborn children.”

The bill would trigger a statewide abortion ban if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

It would be a felony to perform or induce an abortion upon a pregnant person, except in cases of medical emergencies.

Any person who knowingly performs or induces an abortion in violation would be guilty of a class B felony and may lose their professional license.

The bill clarifies that a pregnant person who receives an abortion would not be subject to prosecution.

Eight-Week Abortion Ban

The bill prohibits abortion at eight weeks gestational age or later, except in cases of medical emergency.

Any person who violates this provision would be guilty of a class B felony and may lose their professional license.

14-Week Abortion Ban

If the prohibition on performing or inducing an abortion at eight weeks gestational age or later is declared unconstitutional or invalid, then the prohibition on performing or inducing an abortion would be at 14 weeks gestational age or later.

18-Week Abortion Ban

If the prohibition on performing or inducing an abortion at 14 weeks gestational age or later is declared unconstitutional or invalid, then the prohibition on performing or inducing an abortion would be at 18 weeks gestational age or later.

20-Week Abortion Ban

If the prohibition on performing or inducing an abortion at 18 weeks gestational age or later is declared unconstitutional or invalid, then the prohibition on performing or inducing an abortion would be at 20 weeks gestational age or later.

“Late-Term Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act”

The bill prohibits abortion at 20 weeks.

The bill prohibits the performance of an abortion upon a pregnant person carrying a “late-term pain-capable unborn child,” except in cases of medical emergency.

The bill defines “late-term pain-capable unborn child” to mean:

[…]an unborn child at twenty weeks since the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period, at which point an unborn child is capable of feeling pain.

Any person who violates this provision would be guilty of a class B felony and may lose their professional license.

If an abortion is necessary due to a medical emergency, the physician would be required to terminate the pregnancy in the manner which provides the best opportunity for the fetus to survive unless termination of the pregnancy in that manner would pose a greater risk to the life or health of the pregnant patient.

In cases of medical emergency, the bill requires there to be an additional physician other than the physician performing the abortion, to take control of and provide immediate medical care for a child born as a result of the abortion.

Any physician who violates this provision would class D felony and may lose their professional license.

Selective Abortion Ban

The bill prohibits any person from performing or inducing an abortion if they know that the pregnant person is seeking the abortion solely due to a prenatal diagnosis, test, or screening indicating Down syndrome or the potential of Down syndrome in a fetus.

The bill also prohibits any person from performing or inducing an abortion on a pregnant person if the individual knows that the pregnant person is seeking the abortion solely because of the sex or race of the fetus.

Reporting Requirements

Abortion reports would need to include certification that the attending physician doesn’t have any knowledge that the pregnant person is seeking the abortion due to the sex or race of the fetus, or a diagnosis indicating the fetus may have Down syndrome.

Parental Notification

The bill prohibits—absent any medical emergency—a physician from performing or inducing an abortion upon a minor without first obtaining the notarized written consent of both the minor and one of their parents or legal guardians. The consenting parent or guardian must also notify any other parent or guardian prior to providing consent.

Informed Consent

The bill requires informed consent materials to include information on the “possibility of an abortion causing pain in the unborn child.”

Out-of-State Abortion Referrals

The bill requires abortion providers or family-planning agencies to provide the printed materials developed by the Department of Health under Missouri’s informed consent law (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 188.027) to any pregnant person they refer to an out-of-state abortion clinic. If the referral is not made in person, the abortion provider may mail the printed materials.

Medical Malpractice

The bill prohibits a physician from performing or inducing an abortion unless they have medical malpractice insurance with coverage amounts of at least one million dollars per occurrence and three million dollars in the annual aggregate.

The bill requires a physician to carry tail assurance of at least one million dollars per occurrence and three million dollars in the annual aggregate for personal injury to or death of a child who survives an abortion induced by a drug or chemical that carries a warning that it may cause birth defects.

The bill prohibits an abortion facility or hospital from employing or engaging the services of a person to induce an abortion on another using any drug or chemical that might cause birth defects if the person does not have tail insurance.

Failure to maintain tail insurance would be grounds for the sanctioning of a person’s license, certificate, or permit.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers

The bill includes tax credits for donations to pregnancy resource centers (CPCs). Beginning in 2021, a taxpayer would be allowed to claim up to 70 percent of the amount they contributed to such clinics.


CPCs have come under increased scrutiny over the last several years, as investigations have revealed that centers across the country have provided inaccurate information and neglected to follow proper medical protocols. (Source.)


Below is the original version of HB 126.

As introduced, HB 126 would have prohibited a person from knowingly performing or inducing an abortion upon a pregnant person if a fetal heartbeat has been detected, except in the case of a medical emergency.

The bill would have required a physician to first determine whether there is a detectable fetal heartbeat prior to performing or inducing an abortion. The method of determining the presence of a fetal heartbeat must be consistent with the physician’s “good faith understanding of standard medical practice.”

The physician would be required to give the pregnant patient the option to view or hear the fetal heartbeat.

If a fetal heartbeat is detected, the physician would be required to inform the pregnant patient, in writing, that a fetal heartbeat has been detected and that an abortion may not be performed under Missouri law except in the cases of medical emergency.

If a fetal heartbeat is not detected, the physician would be required to perform the abortion within 96 hours of the conclusion of the fetal heartbeat test. If an abortion is not performed within 96 hours of the test, a new fetal heartbeat detection test would need to be conducted by a physician.

A physician who fails to conduct a fetal heartbeat detection test prior to the performance or inducement of an abortion upon a pregnant patient would, for each instance of failure, be subject to having his or her license or license application rejected, revoked, or suspended by the state board of registration for the healing arts for a period of six months and be subject to a fine of $1,000.

A physician who performs or induces an abortion upon a pregnant patient after a fetal heartbeat detection test reveals the presence of a fetal heartbeat would have his or her license revoked, and any future license application rejected, by the state board of registration for the healing arts.

The bill prohibits the pregnant patient from being prosecuted for a conspiracy to violate the provisions of this law.

Reporting Requirements

The physician would be required to record the estimated gestational age of the fetus, as well as the time, date, method, and results of the fetal heartbeat detection test in the pregnant person’s medical record and in the abortion report.


Related Legislation

The original version of the bill was identical to HB 964.

Similar to HB 870 and SB 139.

Identical to SB 714, which failed to pass in 2018.

Similar to SB 408, which failed to pass in 2017.


Latest Action

12/3/18 – Prefiled.

1/9/19 – Introduced; first reading.

2/21/19 – Passed committee by a 6-3 vote.

2/26/19 – Amended to include additional abortion restrictions.

2/27/19 – Passed house committee by a 6-3 vote.

2/27/19 – Passed the House by a 117-39 vote.

4/25/19 – Passed senate committee.

5/15/19 – Passed Senate by a 24-10 vote.

5/17/19 – Final passage in the House by a 110-44 vote.

5/24/19 – Signed into law by Republican Gov. Mike Parson.

Update #1

8/27/19 – U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs issued a preliminary injunction blocking the gestational age bans, but not the ban on abortion due to the sex or race of the fetus, or a diagnosis indicating the fetus may have Down syndrome.

Update #2

9/27/19 – U.S. District Judge Judge Howard Sachs issued a preliminary injunction blocking the provision banning abortion due to the sex or race of the fetus, or a diagnosis indicating the fetus may have Down Syndrome.


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