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MoLeg Weekly Wrap-Up

The Missouri Legislature’s spring break began on Friday, March 17. They will return on Monday, March 27.

Anti-Sexual and -Reproductive Health Bills

Last Wednesday, the Senate Seniors, Families, and Children Committee held a hearing on Senate Bill 375, a measure that would endanger teens’ health and safety. Missouri law already requires anyone under 18 to get one parent’s consent in order to have an abortion. SB 375 creates additional barriers by requiring the second parent be notified beforehand as well. Educator and trained volunteer counselor Ellen Shapiro testified against the bill, sharing real examples of how SB 375 would harm teens.

"Most minors I saw over the years did come in with a parent and there was healthy communication between them. However, it was very unusual for both parents to come in. I saw one teen who came in with her dad and when asked if her mother knew, they both said she is a drug addict and they don’t see her very often. There is no means to get in touch with her, no known address and she only comes to the house sporadically." - Excerpt from Ellen Shapiro’s testimony

House Bill 174, an effort to erode local control, is on the House calendar and can be taken up for debate at any time. HB 174 ties local governments’ hands in two ways. First, in response to the City of St. Louis’ effort to protect citizens from discrimination based on their reproductive health care decisions (e.g., pregnancy, using birth control, or choosing an abortion) the bill prohibits cities from enforcing or enacting such anti-discrimination laws. Second, it puts so-called pregnancy resource centers (PRCs, also known as “crisis pregnancy centers”) above the law by restricting local governments’ ability to regulate them. PRCs are on record providing false and misleading information. HB 174 would prohibit cities from requiring PRCs like ThriVe Express Women’s Healthcare to ensure the information they provide is medically accurate.

House Bill 1194 is another legislative effort to strip local control. Lawmakers have fast-tracked this bill that bars local governments from raising the minimum wage. This measure is a response to the City of St. Louis’ successful effort to raise the local minimum wage to $11 an hour. Passed in the House two weeks ago, HB 1194 was heard in the Senate Economic Development Committee last Tuesday and passed out of committee on Thursday. The full Senate can debate this measure any time after spring break. The bill must receive two floor votes before heading to Gov. Greitens’ desk.

Planned Parenthood Supported Bills

House Bill 351 and Senate Bill 180, two bills that would limit shackling pregnant and postpartum people incarcerated in state prisons and local jails. Currently, state law allows corrections officials to shackle the hands, legs, and abdomens of pregnant and postpartum inmates. Major medical groups, including the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association, oppose shackling because it is degrading, inhumane, and unsafe. House Bill 351 and Senate Bill 180 are companion bills with bipartisan support. HB 351 has been passed out of its first House committee and awaits a vote in the House Rules Committee on March 27, while Senate Bill 180 is on the Senate calendar awaiting debate.

Gov. Greitens addresses Missouri Right to Life Lobby Day

Last Tuesday, Gov. Greitens joined other Missouri Republican leaders to address members of Missouri Right to Life, an anti-abortion group that has long opposed efforts to improve Missourians’ sexual and reproductive health and rights. Greitens took the opportunity to denounce the City of St. Louis’ recent effort to protect citizens from discrimination based on their reproductive health decisions: 

“We’ve got some politicians and crazy liberals and their allies in organizations like NARAL that are trying to create an abortion sanctuary city right here in the state of Missouri,” Greitens said to boos. “Folks, I’m telling you that I am here to defend life and defend people of faith who want to defend life and while I’m governor, there’s not going to be an abortion sanctuary city here in the state of Missouri.”

Get Involved: Upcoming Events Near You!

Columbia Health Care Town Hall 6 p.m. Wednesday 

This Wednesday night at the Columbia ARC, join Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes, coalition partners, and mid-Missouri lawmakers for a discussion about proposed legislation and budget cuts that will impact your health care. We'll discuss Senate Bill 28, which would drastically cut Medicaid funding and services, as well as proposed budget cuts that would burden seniors, women, and people with disabilities.

Phone Banks Across Missouri on Fridays

Every Friday afternoon this month in Columbia, Springfield, and St. Louis, Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri will be phone banking to drive calls to Missouri's U.S. Senators. We are focusing on three issues: fighting the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, pushing back against the attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, and the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuch is bad news for sexual and reproductive health. Join us and help make sure that Sens. Blunt and McCaskill know Missourians stand with Planned Parenthood and oppose Judge Gorsuch.

RSVP for #MoLeg Lobby Days

It’s not too late to make your voice heard in the Capitol! Three coalition lobby days remain: Missouri Women’s Network Equity Action Day on April 4, Moral Missouri Lobby Day and Rally on April 26, and Freedom of Choice Council Lobby Day on May 4.

Our organizers will prep you with materials and information so you can talk to your legislators with confidence. 


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