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Abortion ban after 8 weeks blocked by federal judge

A Planned Parenthood clinic escort tries to wave a car into the facility as Percy Fountain of the Coalition for Life St. Louis offers literature to a woman outside the gates on Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs stopped the Wednesday implementation of a new Missouri law banning abortions after eight weeks as a legal challenge against it proceeds.

Photo by Robert Cohen, rcohen@post-dispatch.com.

In her Aug. 20 column, "Agonizing decision is for parents, not politicians," Robin Utz uses her personal story of deciding to abort her terminally ill daughter to argue against Missouri House Bill 126, which has since been signed into law. At every stage of pregnancy, this law allows exceptions for medical emergencies. Wouldn't the imminent death of the fetus and the consequent risk to the mother's health of continuing the pregnancy constitute a medical emergency? I do not wish to minimize Utz's very tragic experience, but it does not logically follow that HB 126 would force children like her daughter Grace to endure "a brief life of agony."

Nor do the additional arguments against the law that Utz puts forth: that it allows politicians to interfere in personal medical decisions and that it does not respect the will of the people. HB 126 was not passed by politicians imposing their agenda on the people of Missouri. Rather, it was passed by legislators who were elected by the people to represent their point of view, including, according to some reports, the 80% of women who oppose late-term abortions and 69% of women who believe that abortion is morally wrong.

Do we really need a referendum to make known the will of the people? Or is this a case of a militant minority attempting to impose its agenda on the people of Missouri?

Carolyn Vokoun • Chesterfield