Missouri lawmakers have passed a strict antiabortion bill that will criminalize the procedure at eight weeks of pregnancy, following several other conservative states that have approved similar measures.

Missouri’s Republican-controlled House voted 110 to 44 on Friday to pass the bill and send it to Gov. Mike Parson (R) for his approval. Parson, who has vowed to make Missouri “one of the strongest pro-life states in the country,” is expected to sign it into law.

HB 126, known as the “Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act,” would ban abortions before many women know they are pregnant, with no exceptions for rape or incest.

The vote came just hours before the state’s legislative session was set to end, and was preceded by an emotional debate in the House, during which some lawmakers recounted their own experiences with abortion. Aside from some outbursts from spectators in the gallery and quiet sobbing at times that appeared to come from the House floor, the chamber was largely silent during the arguments about the bill.

Supporters said the bill would protect unborn children’s lives, but opponents argued it would also put the mothers’ lives at risk, forcing them to either suffer or go underground to seek illegal and unsafe procedures.

“We will be killing women with this bill,” Rep. Sarah Unsicker, a Democrat from the St. Louis suburbs, said before the vote.

But the Republican House speaker, Elijah Haahr, celebrated the passing of the bill.

“Today, the Missouri House stood for the unborn,” the speaker said in a statement.

“The Missouri House made the statement that in Missouri, we believe an unborn child is a human life worth protecting,” he added. “We value the life of every Missourian and renewed that commitment all session. In passing this bill, we took a powerful step forward to show this includes the unborn. Our children will remember the moral, not political, vote members took today to protect the voice to the unborn.”

Missouri’s Senate had approved the bill early Thursday amid an apparent race among conservative states to get the Supreme Court to consider overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide, but with provisions for protecting women’s health and prenatal life. Similar legislation passed in Georgia, Mississippi and Ohio — and Alabama’s governor on Wednesday signed the nation’s most-restrictive abortion ban into law. The Alabama law makes it illegal for a woman to have an abortion at six weeks of pregnancy.

If Missouri’s HB 126 is signed into law, as expected, it will make it illegal for a woman to get an abortion after the eighth week of pregnancy and provide no exceptions for rape or incest — only for medical emergencies.

The legislation defines a medical emergency as “a condition which, based on reasonable medical judgment, so complicates the medical condition of a pregnant woman as to necessitate the immediate abortion of her pregnancy to avert the death of the pregnant woman or for which a delay will create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.”

Doctors who violate such a law would face a Class B felony, punishable by five to 15 years in prison, as well as suspension or revocation of his or her professional license, according to the bill.

The Missouri governor has showed strong support for the bill, tweeting before the votes: “Thanks to leaders in the House and Senate, we are one vote away from passing one of the strongest #ProLife bills in the country — standing for life, protecting women’s health, and advocating for the unborn.”

Following the House vote, the Missouri GOP thanked lawmakers who “voted to protect the lives of the unborn.”

“Missouri just passed the strongest, most comprehensive pro-life bill in the country,” the party announced on Twitter. “This bill was designed to withstand a legal challenge, not to attract one.”

Planned Parenthood vowed on Twitter: “We. Will. Not. Stop. Fighting.”

Missouri Democrats called the bill “far too extreme.”

“In their quest to join the legal challenge to Roe v. Wade, the extremist majority is putting $7 billion in healthcare dollars at risk for the most vulnerable Missourians, including children in parts of the state with higher infant mortality rates than in developing countries,” the group said in a statement. “This vote demonstrates in stark terms the importance of voting for candidates that will focus on policies that improve health outcomes rather than go backwards.”

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