The Missouri Legislature ends its 2019 session today after passing one of the nation’s most extreme abortion bans. House Bill 126 criminalizes abortion as early as eight weeks, before many people even know they are pregnant. This dangerous attack on health care has drawn unprecedented opposition from physicians, patients, community leaders, and everyday Missourians alike. The House vote sparked outrage from a huge crowd of abortion rights supporters in the gallery.
M’Evie Mead, director of policy and organizing for Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri, issued the following statement:
“This legislative session has been an utter failure for Missourians. Politicians are putting the health and lives of Missouri women at risk in their race to make our state the one that overturns Roe v. Wade at the U.S. Supreme Court. These bans on safe, legal abortion will have real costs — expensive legal costs and human costs for those who need reproductive health care.
“At a time when maternal mortality is increasing in our state, we must be doing everything we can to increase access to health care — not cut it. And yet lawmakers have done the opposite.
“Governor Parson must show that Missourians’ health matters by rejecting this extreme abortion ban.”
In their race to overturn Roe v. Wade at the Supreme Court, anti-reproductive health lawmakers spent this session undermining privacy and freedom for Missourians by attacking access to abortion. They ignored Missouri’s rising maternal mortality rate, a statewide outbreak of syphilis, and thousands of Missourians who can’t access affordable health care because these same lawmakers have refused to expand Medicaid.
With House Bill 126, Missouri joins an alarming national trend of extreme politicians pushing abortion bans in defiance of the American people, whose support for access to safe and legal abortion is at an all-time high. Sixteen bills banning abortion have been enacted across 11 states the last three motths. Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Ohio have also passed extreme and unconstitutional bans aimed at outlawing abortion.
Missouri is already among the most restrictive states in the country for abortion access. Medically unnecessary laws currently on the books have left Missourians with just a single abortion provider, in St. Louis. House Bill 126 is designed to make it even more difficult, if not impossible, to access safe, legal abortion. It is an attack on all Missouri women and anyone who might or can get pregnant.
This extreme abortion ban is also not the Missouri Legislature’s only attack on reproductive health care this session. Last week, lawmakers passed two bills that aim to “defund” Planned Parenthood and discriminate against patients by blocking them from accessing birth control, cancer screenings, and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and treatment. The 2019 legislative session has been a failure for the health and well-being of Missourians, but Planned Parenthood Advocates is doing everything we can to protect patients’ health and lives.
Every patient should know that these bans are not in effect — yet. You can still come to Planned Parenthood and get health care. You can still make an appointment at your local health center, and get the care you need. We will never stop fighting to ensure that everyone in Missouri can access health care, including safe and legal abortion.
Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri works to protect and expand sexual and reproductive rights and health for all Missourians. It is a joint project of Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes and Advocates of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, the political and advocacy arms of both Planned Parenthood affiliates in Missouri.