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Missouri's abortion law puts hospitals and patients at risk

Missouri's abortion ban contains only one exception, not for rape or incest, but for "medical emergencies." But the law is vague on what that means — and that's a problem for hospitals, since performing an abortion could carry a felony and prison time. It's also a problem for patients in critical need of care.

Mylissa Farmer was 17 weeks pregnant when she was told her baby wouldn't survive birth. Even though doctors at a Joplin hospital recommended terminating her pregnancy, they couldn't perform the procedure because of Missouri's abortion ban. Now, federal investigators are looking into whether the hospital violated federal law by refusing to perform emergency medical care.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Sam Wicentowski spoke with Michelle Banker, Director of Reproductive Rights and Health Litigation at the National Women’s Law Center, and Susan Szuch, health and public policy reporter for the Springfield News Leader, about the story.

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