Court Blocks Missouri's Eight-Week Abortion Ban
On Tuesday, a U.S. District Court judge found Missouri’s abortion bans likely unconstitutional and blocked major portions of the law just one day before they were set to take effect.
The blocked bans would have made abortion illegal starting at eight weeks, which is before many people even know they are pregnant. The court also blocked the "cascading" bans, which were designed to ban abortion at 14, 18, and 20 weeks if earlier bans were struck.
Not all patients are protected by the court ruling, however, which allowed the reason ban to take effect. The reason ban co-opts very real concerns about discrimination to ban abortion based on sex, race, or Down syndrome diagnosis. This ban does nothing to support people who face discrimination, including women of color and people with Down syndrome and their families. Instead, it will force physicians to interrogate patients and deny them access to health care. Doctors take an oath to provide care to their patients regardless of the circumstances, and they shouldn't go to jail for doing their jobs.
Dr. Colleen McNicholas, Chief Medical Officer of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, said:
Although we are grateful today’s ruling allows us to provide care to some Missourians, we will continue to defend the truth: EVERY reason to have an abortion is a valid reason. My patients deserve access to high-quality abortion care, and they deserve the space to make those decisions based on their values, life circumstances, support system, and faith, free of government scrutiny.
You can read more from Dr. McNicholas and the full statement from Planned Parenthood and partners at the ACLU here.
- Springfield News-Leader: Federal judge puts Missouri's 8-week abortion ban on hold
Tell Director Williams: Stop Forcing Medically Unnecessary Pelvic Exams
Director Randall Williams and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) are forcing patients to have a medically unnecessary pelvic exam before an abortion.
Let’s be clear: This flies in the fact of best medical practice. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), pelvic exams are never needed before a medication abortion, and they should only be performed when indicated before a surgical abortion. There is no medical reason for the state to force patients to undergo a pelvic exam before they can have an abortion.
Despite the public outcry over this practice, DHSS is doubling down on a new requirement to do a pelvic exam 72 hours prior to getting an abortion.
Your opposition to this rule is critical. DHSS is accepting public comments, and today is the deadline. Act now!
Act Now: Protect Title X!
Planned Parenthood was forced out of the Title X program — the nation’s only dedicated program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care — because of the dangerous and unethical gag rule. Forcing Planned Parenthood out of the program threatens access to affordable health care for millions who get care through Title X — including thousands of Missourians.
The good news is that Congress can fix this. The U.S. House has already passed a bill, and the Senate needs to pass it next. Planned Parenthood supporters held actions across the state calling on U.S. Senators Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley to pass the Title X fix and protect Missourians’ access to birth control, cancer screenings, and STI testing and treatment.
It’s not too late to add your voice: Call Sen. Blunt and Sen. Hawley now and demand they protect access to birth control, cancer screenings, and other essential care by protecting Title X: 202-601-3441.
After Sec. Ashcroft Blocks Missourians’ Right to Put Abortion Ban to a Vote of the People, Advocates Sue to Protect Right to Referendum
As soon as Gov. Parson signed HB 126, the extreme eight-week abortion ban, Missourians sprang into action and filed a petition to put the measure to a vote of the people. But Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft refused to do his job and issue the ballot language needed to start collecting signatures. Even after court ruled that he acted illegally and Missourians rallied across the state telling him not to “trash our votes,” he chose to run out the clock on citizens’ right to vote on this extreme eight-week abortion ban. He robbed the people of 78 days of their constitutionally allotted time to collect signatures, leaving the people with the impossible task of collecting more than 100,000 signatures in only 14 days.
Secretary Ashcroft abused his power and effectively prevented voters from protesting the eight-week abortion ban at the ballot box. He dragged his feet for one reason: He has joined the race to make Missouri the first state to ban safe, legal abortion.
So the No Bans on Choice Team — including Planned Parenthood Advocates — took the fight to court.
The Missouri Constitution guarantees the people 90 days to collect signatures to put a referendum on the ballot. We are suing to challenge the statute that blocks Missourians from gathering signatures before the Secretary of State issues ballot language.
While Secretary Ashcroft succeeded in blocking the people’s right to a referendum on this extreme abortion ban, this lawsuit aims to make sure this denial can’t happen again.
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Robin Utz op-ed: Ashcroft's delay tactics defy Missourians' right to challenge abortion law
PinkOut in Kansas City!
Join Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes supporters and music lovers alike on Friday, September 6 for the fourth annual PinkOut at recordBar in Kansas City!
Katy Guillen and the Drive will be playing. Proceeds will support Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes as we advocate for the rights of patients to access sexual and reproductive health care.
Recap: Holding Gov. Parson and Sen. Eigel Accountable
Braving triple-digit July temperatures, Planned Parenthood Advocates gathered outside of a campaign fundraiser for Gov. Mike Parson (R) and State Sen. Bill Eigel (R-23) to hold them accountable for supporting HB 126, the extreme and dangerous eight-week abortion ban.
Volunteers chanted and shared information with attendees about Gov. Parson and Sen. Eigel’s records of undermining Missourians’ sexual and reproductive health and rights.
New Action Council in Cape Girardeau
After just a few months on the ground Southeast Missouri, Planned Parenthood Advocates’ newest grassroots organizer has connected local supporters and formed a new volunteer action council!
In addition to brainstorming creative ways to engage more supporters, the Cape Girardeau Action Council is planning events to lawmakers accountable for supporting policies that undermine Missourians’ sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Want to join or start an action council in your community? Fill out this form and check the “volunteer” box!
Find Events Near You!
Planned Parenthood events across Missouri are posted regularly on our calendar. Check it out to find new ways to get involved in your community: ppmissouri.org/calendar