JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Inspired by President Donald Trump's moves to shape a more conservative U.S. Supreme Court, Missouri Republicans raced the clock to join a parade of other states seeking to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion.
Facing a Friday evening adjournment deadline and a deep desire by Democrats to block the sweeping legislation, senators worked overnight on a package of changes that would ban the vast majority of abortions in Missouri.
At shortly before 4 a.m. Thursday, the GOP-led Senate approved a version of a sweeping abortion bill the House had approved months earlier. The measure will need another vote in the House before heading to Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, who is expected to sign the legislation.
"We all collectively stand as one to protect the unborn," Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden, a Columbia Republican, said after the vote, which fell along party lines, 24-10. "It's a subject we care deeply about."
Although Missouri already is one of the more restrictive states when it comes to access to abortion, the latest push by the Republican-controlled Legislature comes amid a nationwide effort by abortion foes to get anti-abortion laws on the books that could be upheld by the newly revamped Supreme Court.
At a campaign-style rally in his office, Parson on Wednesday evening urged the Senate to approve the package.
"We have the opportunity to be one of the strongest pro-life states in the country," Parson said. "It's a God-given right to live. That's why we're here today, to protect people who don't have a voice."
Democrats held court on the Senate floor for much of the day, stopping other work and criticizing the legislation and working to try to ease some of its harsher provisions.
"I would characterize this legislation as extreme," said Democratic state Sen. Lauren Arthur of Kansas City. "I think this legislation will be struck down as unconstitutional."
"This is an unconscionable use of our power as a Legislature," added Democratic state Sen. Jill Schupp of Creve Coeur.