ST. LOUIS — Advocates of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri (Advocates of PPSLR) and NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri issued the following statements in light of a report from the Missouri House of Representatives Ethics Committee about Rep. Wiley Price IV (D-St. Louis). The report clearly and credibly documents numerous abuses of power: obstructing the investigation, repeatedly lying under oath, retaliation against mandated reporters and an inappropriate relationship with an intern.
Upon review of the unanimous bipartisan ethics report, Advocates of PPSLR and NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri call on Rep. Price to step down from office.
Statement by Yamelsie Rodríguez, President and CEO, Advocates of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri:
“When you’re serving in public office, you have a special responsibility to uphold the highest standards of ethical conduct. If you fall short of those standards and violate the trust of your constituents by abusing your power, you should take full responsibility for your actions and step aside.
“We acknowledge there is a real racist history of Black men being wrongly accused of sexual misconduct in this country. It is also true that in this instance, there is a detailed and credible report documenting repeated abuses of power by Rep. Price.
“The Missouri House of Representatives has a clear policy that prohibits members from having a sexual relationship with an intern. Rep. Price’s actions have contributed to a hostile and unsafe work environment in the Missouri Capitol, and he should resign immediately. Interns and staff deserve a Capitol where they are safe and respected — Rep. Price’s continued presence will undermine that.
“Reproductive freedom is inextricably linked to control over one’s body. Both are under attack in Jefferson City which is why Planned Parenthood has fought for a world where women are equal and in control of their own bodies. Planned Parenthood Advocates will not stop until all women are treated with dignity and respect in the workplace, in accessing health care, and in their everyday lives."
Statement by Mallory Schwarz, Executive Director, NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri:
“At a time when reproductive freedom is under siege like never before, Missourians deserve leaders who don't just pay lip service to the values of reproductive freedom, but who hold themselves to the highest form of conduct and who truly fight for them. NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri cannot support anyone who fails to affirm the right of each person to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace, in accessing reproductive health care, and in their daily lives.
“It is the responsibility and privilege of our elected leaders to offer young people a space to learn about government. Their safety from inappropriate and coercive advances should be assumed. Everybody deserves to work in a safe and respectful environment, free from retaliation, intimidation, and violence.
“The report of abuse of power by Representative Wiley Price this week leaves only one conclusion to be drawn—he is unfit to serve and must immediately resign.”