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Missouri Abortion Laws

Although Roe v. Wade legalized abortion at the federal level, ruling that a woman's access to abortion is a matter of privacy, states are free to set numerous restrictions and regulations. Missouri's abortion laws require waiting periods after an initial consultation with physicians; parental consent for minors; the presence of a second M.D. in attendance; and so on.

Missouri's Abortion Statutes

The following chart lists the basic requirements and other legal parameters of Missouri abortion law. See FindLaw's extensive Reproductive Rights section for more information.

Code Section 188.010 et seq.
Statutory Definition of Abortion
  1. The act of using or prescribing any instrument, device, medicine, drug, or any other means or substance with the intent to destroy the life of an embryo or fetus in his or her mother's womb; or
  2. The intentional termination of the pregnancy of a mother by using or prescribing any instrument, device, medicine, drug, or other means or substance with an intention other than to increase the probability of a live birth or to remove a dead or dying unborn child.
Illegal Abortion
  • After 21 weeks and 6 days from date of conception (except if the woman's life or health is threatened).
  • Any procedure that fails to follow statutory regulations, as required for both patients and clinics.
  • Abortion for purpose of providing fetal organs/tissue for transplant or other purposes.
  • Use of public facilities, employees or funds for abortion, except where necessary to save mother's life.
  • Taking the life of a fetus aborted alive.
  • Performing an abortion without physician's license and surgical privileges.
Penalty for Unlawful Abortion Second degree murder to take the life of a child aborted alive; anyone not a physician attempting to perform an abortion or without privileges at hospital offering OB/Gyn care is guilty of Class B felony; Class A misdemeanor and revocation of M.D. or health practitioner's license for committing or assisting in unlawful abortion; failure to maintain confidentiality: misdemeanor
Patient Requirements
  • Prior, informed, written consent of the patient; if she is less than 17 and unemancipated, informed written consent of one parent/guardian or court order
  • Parent or legal guardian must accompany a minor on the day of the procedure
  • 72-hour waiting period for obtaining "informed consent" about the procedure (no exception for cases of rape or incest)
Physician Licensing Requirements
  • Licensed M.D. only
  • After 16 wks., must be performed in hospital
  • After viability, licensed M.D. must certify abortion necessary including medical indicators and method to be utilized with reasoning for decision.
  • Second M.D. must be in attendance to aid fetus.
  • at 20 weeks, M.D. required to determine whether fetus is viable, using ordinary skill and care and testing.

Supreme Court Ruling: Admitting Privileges and Structural Standards

The U.S. Supreme Court, on June 27, 2016, ruled that certain abortion regulations in Texas are unconstitutional (Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt). Specifically, the Court singled out the requirements that abortion doctors have hospital admitting privileges and that facilities meet the strict standards of surgical centers. The ruling will likely affect similar restrictions under Missouri law as well.

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Missouri health care attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Missouri Abortion Laws: Related Resources

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