Missouri Monitor: April 19, 2021
By Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri | April 19, 2021, 8 p.m.
This Thursday: Join the virtual People’s Hearing
It's no secret that the Missouri Legislature has the wrong priorities this session. Instead of expanding access to health care and listening to their constituents, these politicians have been focusing on anti-abortion, anti-trans and anti-Medicaid Expansion legislation. COVID-19 has made it even harder for the majority in this state to make their voices heard.
Join us and our allies at Missouri Family Health Council, NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, National Council of Jewish Women - STL and PROMO for a virtual People's Hearing where we can make our voices heard!RSVP for the Zoom Link
MoLeg Recap: House Committee Advances Bills Attacking Reproductive Freedom
The House Children and Families Committee advanced two bills attacking Missourians’ reproductive freedom last week. The committee held a hearing on HB 431, a targeted restriction of abortion providers (TRAP) law. This bill is yet another attempt by anti-abortion politicians to deceive and shame patients and end abortion in Missouri.
House Bill 431 would force all patients to determine how fetal tissue is disposed of before they are allowed to have an abortion. It is designed to shame abortion patients by imposing a funeral ritual on them after a safe, legal medical procedure, and after the tissue has been sent to pathology. Politicians have no business imposing their beliefs on patients and interfering with their health care. Thank you to Jen Bernstein with NCJW-STL, Mo Del Villar with the ACLU of Missouri, and Kendall Martínez Wright for testifying in person against this bill.
In addition to hearing HB 431, the committee passed a substitute for HB 852. The new version of the bill makes it at least the sixth piece of legislation designed to “defund” Planned Parenthood. These “defund” bills are aimed at one thing: Preventing Missouri patients from getting birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, and other health care at Planned Parenthood. House Bill 852 would block patients with low incomes from choosing their own health care provider — a right protected by federal law.
Instead of supporting families through the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-abortion politicians in Jefferson City are laser-focused on attacking Planned Parenthood, even though “defunding” Planned Parenthood means fewer patients access the health care they need. Participation in the program has decreased by nearly 35% since politicians excluded Planned Parenthood health centers and other providers.
🏳️⚧️ Protect Trans Kids: Stop the Trans Youth Athlete Ban
House Joint Resolution 53 — a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban transgender students from playing sports with their peers — will soon be up for debate on the House Floor.
We all know that transgender youth deserve the opportunity to play the sports they love and experience the valuable lessons of being on a team with their peers: teamwork, discipline, success, and failure. Transgender youth in Missouri should be able to be part of a team and play the sport they love as their authentic selves, just like any other young student.
Take action with PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBTQ+ advocates, to #ProtectTransKids and tell Missouri legislators what value sports have brought to your life or the lives of people you love. Remind them why sports are for everyone and we play together for the love of the game and love of the team.Take Action
📲 Volunteer Opportunity: Virtual Phone Banks!
Want to take action to support reproductive freedom without leaving your house? Our grassroots organizers have just the thing! Join weekly virtual phone banks on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays for the rest of the legislative session. You bring the computer, phone and internet access, we’ll supply the information and support you need to have impactful conversations with fellow Missourians across the state.
- Tuesday MO Jobs with Justice Phone Bank: Demand MoLeg Fully Fund Medicaid Expansion
- Thursday Planned Parenthood Advocates Repro Freedom Phone Bank
- Friday Planned Parenthood Advocates Repro Freedom Phone Bank
Recap: Black Maternal Health Week #BMHW21
Last week marked the annual Black Maternal Health Week, founded by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance. In Missouri, a Black woman is 3-4 times more likely than a white woman to die from pregnancy-related complications.
Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri Vice President for Health Equity and Culture April Mickens-Jolly spoke with Missouri Public News Service about racial disparities in maternal health, and how fully implementing Medicaid expansion is key to improving these outcomes:
“Mickens Jolly emphasized expanding Medicaid, which Missouri voters approved last year, but lawmakers are resisting funding, could make a big difference.
“She pointed to research which shows states that have fully implemented Medicaid expansion have also reduced rates of both infant and maternal mortality, and in some cases, begun to reduce racial disparities.
"‘Because of discriminatory and racist public policies, women of color and certainly Black women rely on publicly funded programs like Medicaid, more than white women do,’ Mickens Jolly stated.”
Recap: TASH Advocacy Day
The Teen Advocates for Sexual Health (TASH) Advocacy Council and Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri turned the annual advocacy day into a virtual event last week.
The day began with teen advocates leading one of a series sexual and reproductive health legislative briefings. Advocates focused on alleviating period poverty, expanding sexual education, and ending discrimination against trans youth. During the briefing, four teen advocates and one former middle school teacher shared powerful personal stories to illuminate the impact of each issue.
Participants took action by signing a petition to end period poverty and calling on the Speaker of the House to assign HB 793 — a bill that would improve maternal health — to committee so it can have a hearing.
Thank you to the legislators and legislative assistants who joined the event and met with advocates to discuss priority bills, including Rep. Emily Weber and her LA Allison Dorsey, Rep. Ashley Aune and her LA Brendan Simpson, Rep. Sarah Unsicker, Rep. Betsy Fogle, Rep. Joe Adams, Rep. Bridget Walsh Moore, Rep. Barbara Phifer and her LA Ben Murray, and Sen. Brian Williams. Participants left feeling inspired, supported, and heard!