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Contact: M’Evie Mead, 314-531-7526 x348, [email protected]

Extreme “Personhood” Measure Heard in Committee

Last Tuesday, a House committee held a hearing on HJR 98, an extreme proposal from Rep. Mike Moon (R-Ash Grove) to give embryos full legal “personhood” and criminalize all abortion and common forms of birth control like the pill and IUDs. Lawmakers and witnesses in favor of HJR 98 repeatedly compared abortion to slavery, an inflammatory and racist comparison that erases Black women while simultaneously stripping them of bodily autonomy.

Rep. Moon asserted that, “as a former embryo,” he would like to see abortion criminalized altogether. Dr. Ed Weisbart, a family physician, testified against the bill, explaining that nothing in the measure is “based in medical evidence.”

Recap: Reproductive Health Lobby Day

More than 50 advocates from across Missouri traveled to Jefferson City for Reproductive Health Lobby Day last Wednesday. Groups met with legislators, asking them to oppose dangerous anti-reproductive health legislation and instead support a positive measure to ban the shackling of pregnant prisoners. NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri Executive Director Alison Dreith wrapped up the coalition lobby day by focusing on intersectionality. She gave an overview of ongoing fights over labor rights and voting rights, reminding us that we are stronger when we act in solidarity.

Two lobby days remain: April 12 and May 5. Mark your calendars and RSVP now!

Senate Subpoenas Continue Anti-Planned Parenthood Campaign

Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) has continued his campaign against Planned Parenthood by filing measures to compel Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri President and CEO Mary M. Kogut and Pathology Services CEO Dr. James Miller to appear before the Senate. The resolutions are an extension of the Senate Sanctity of Life Committee’s investigation of widely discredited accusations. Despite the fact that Planned Parenthood fully complies with all applicable laws, the Senate committee issued an overbroadly subpoena that includes protected patient information. While expressing willingness to discuss how to comply, Planned Parenthood objected to the subpoena in order to meet its legal and ethical obligations to protect patient privacy. Sen. Schaefer is threatening Planned Parenthood and Pathology Services’ CEOs with fines and jail time.

“It is deeply, deeply concerning that in 2016 we are talking about jailing women’s health care providers for protecting their patients’ privacy,” Kogut said. “These baseless threats to our health care professionals and providers are disturbing.”

FDA Updates Medication Abortion Label

After a thorough review, the Food and Drug Administration has approved an updated label for mifepristone, commonly referred to as the abortion pill. Until now, the FDA label for Mifeprex, the brand name for mifepristone, had been based on studies from the 1990s. The updated label is based on more recent research that shows medication abortion can be administered safely in a lower dosage and three weeks later, up to 10 weeks. Research also shows that a follow-up visit is unnecessary. This update brings the label in line with the highest standard of care and best medical practices. This change will provide increased access to safe and effective medication abortion throughout the country.

Trump Says Women Should Be Punished for Abortion

In an MSNBC town hall last week, GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump said, “there should be some form of punishment” for women who have abortions. When pressed on what that would mean, Trump conceded: “Well, you go back to a position like they had where they would perhaps go to illegal places but we have to ban it.”

Though he walked back his comments within hours after near-universal backlash, they were telling. Despite the anti-abortion movement’s claim to care about women, punishing those who have abortions is the logical outcome of criminalization. Indeed, women throughout the United States are currently being prosecuted for attempts to end their own pregnancies.

Tags: lobby_day, Abortion

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