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My name is Dr. Caitlyn Parks, MD, MSCI, I am here today to testify in opposition to Senate Bill 1. I come today as a physician, as a woman, and as a resident of the state of Missouri. I am here to testify for my patients whose voices will never be heard by the politicians making decisions that affect their lives.

Abortion is safe. Over and over again it has been proven to be one of the safest outpatient procedures performed in the US. And yet, I am still sitting here today refuting the medical necessity of additional restrictions. Rigorous research has consistently demonstrated the lack of medical benefits of TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws and other restrictions, while simultaneously confirming the safety of abortion. In fact, just one year ago the U.S. Supreme Court found that ambulatory surgical center and admitting privilege requirements in Texas do not protect women’s health, but instead pose substantial obstacles to women seeking abortion.

Despite our highest court’s decision, this body continues to propose unconstitutional restrictions. We know it’s not to improve women’s safety, so what then is it for? We know what happens when we restrict this safe procedure-- it forces women to have to travel hundreds of miles and many hours, take time off from work, find childcare, all of which only increase the cost. For those who cannot afford to travel or find childcare, it forces them to turn to unsafe means of abortion. We have seen this happen in Texas and we saw this before Roe. This hurts women and it hurts their families. I am here today to urge the Missouri legislature to stop trying to restrict access to safe women’s health care. Stop trying to come between a woman and her doctor. Stop creating unnecessary restrictions that push women to unsafe measures.

More disappointing than the deep disregard for medical evidence is this body’s ability to do so at the expense of the women of Missouri. Our sisters, our mothers, our friends, and MY patients. Patients like, Marie from Joplin, who has multiple medical conditions that make a pregnancy risky for her. She knew she couldn’t afford to take time off from work if she got sick, because if she got fired she wouldn’t be able to support her children. Because the last standing provider of abortion care in Missouri is in St. Louis, she was forced to travel hours to access this important care. Because of the 72-hour waiting period restriction already in place, she had to make this trip twice, taking time away from work, her kids, & her family. The clear way in which these laws further the already abysmal inequity of care Missourians receive is unacceptable. If you are truly invested in the well-being of all of Missouri’s women, not just the ones in whose reproductive health decisions you agree with, then you too will oppose these measures. 

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