Mo. gov. to let late-term abortion bill become law

By the Associated Press | July 14, 2011 | 3:14 PM EDT

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says he will let a measure restricting late-term abortions take effect without his signature.

Nixon said he would not sign the bill by the Thursday deadline, but will allow it to become law.

Missouri already bans abortions of viable fetuses except to preserve the life or health of the woman. The new law removes the general health exception and allows such abortions only to save the woman's life or when pregnancy poses a serious risk of substantial physical impairment to a major bodily function.

The law is part of a trend among states to limit abortions past the point when a fetus may be able to live outside the womb. Unlike in some other states, Missouri's proposal allows doctors to determine viability on a case-by-case basis.