Pregnant women would be allowed to finalize a divorce under a bill in the Missouri House.

Missouri is one of four states where women who are pregnant cannot get a divorce. Current law allows women who are carrying a child to file for divorce, but judges are barred from entering a divorce judgement until after the mother gives birth. House Minority Whip Ashley Aune, D-Kansas City, told Missourinet that the law contains language that includes “presumption of paternity,” meaning it’s presumed that the estranged husband is the father of the unborn child.

Aune’s bill would allow divorces and legal separations to be finalized while a woman is still pregnant. She said that it’s a “morale killer” for a pregnant woman in an abusive relationship to not be able to get divorced right away.

“For folks who already struggle to get out of these situations, folks who have struggled time and time again to get out of an abusive situation, to be told that divorce isn’t possible — that is really harrowing for some folks,” Aune said.

The measure awaits a House committee vote.

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