ST. LOUIS - Today, more than a dozen progressive organizations joined patients, supporters, and advocates including St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones, Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), Advocates of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri President and CEO Yamelsie Rodríguez, and the Honorable Cora Faith Walker to oppose all abortion bans in Missouri and across the country. One week ago, Texas’ six-week abortion ban took effect, and Metro East abortion providers are seeing the fallout. Like the majority of Missouri patients who need abortion services, Texas patients are now traveling out of state, including to Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region’s (RHS) Illinois health center and Hope Clinic for Women.
Missouri could soon be the next state to eliminate what little is left of abortion access. House Bill 126 — Missouri’s eight-week abortion ban — will be heard in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals (one step from the Supreme Court) on September 21. If allowed to take effect, this measure would criminalize doctors who provide abortion and ban abortion after eight weeks. If the courts block the eight-week ban, 14-week, 18-week and 20-week bans could take effect.
Patients, advocates, activists, and city and state leaders called these bans racist, ableist, and sexist. Any attack on reproductive health and rights disproportionately burdens people of color and people with low incomes who already face racist and discriminatory policies in order to access basic health care. Missouri’s medically unnecessary abortion restrictions like the mandatory 72-hour delay and two-trip requirement are designed to drive up costs and push abortion out of reach. Even under Roe v. Wade, these laws make abortion inaccessible.
Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), she/her
“We will not stop, we will not rest, we will not back down in our work to secure reproductive health care for all. The unfortunate reality is that SB 8 in Texas is just the tip of the iceberg. States across the country, including Missouri, are moving to restrict access to abortion care through copycat laws. As the St. Louis Congresswoman, I will leave no stone unturned as we legislate to protect reproductive freedoms — from expanding the Supreme Court to restore its ideological balance, to codifying Roe v. Wade in law. As we stand up for our freedoms, we must remember that laws like SB 8 disproportionately affect Black, brown, low-income, trans, queer, disabled, and other marginalized groups who already have less access to abortion care. Let me be clear: The work to secure reproductive justice must be unapologetically intersectional.”
Tishaura Jones, she/her, Mayor, City of St. Louis
“St. Louis will not sit idly by as we see Texans cross state lines for care, and our city continues to face attacks from Jefferson City politicians who think they know better than we do about how to raise our families and make our own healthcare decisions. The Supreme Court has turned back the clock on Roe v. Wade, and we cannot allow Missouri to follow in its footsteps by enacting even harsher restrictions.”
Yamelsie Rodríguez, she/her, President and CEO, Advocates of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri
“We don’t have to guess what a post-Roe world looks like. That day has already arrived if you’re a patient with a low income; if you live in one of the 90% of counties without an abortion provider; and now, almost certainly, if you are a patient who lives in Texas. Now is the time to get loud. We are part of the 80% of Americans — Republicans, Democrats, independents, religious, and non-religious — who support keeping abortion legal. We are the majority.”
Mallory Schwarz, she/her, Executive Director, Pro-Choice Missouri
“What we’re seeing out of Texas is just the beginning. Anti-abortion politicians in Missouri are already following Texas’s lead, pledging to introduce copycat laws this year and decimate reproductive freedom across our state. But an assault on abortion access anywhere is an assault on abortion access everywhere. Now more than ever, Pro-Choice Missouri and our army of 70,000 advocates are committed to fighting shoulder-to-shoulder across state lines to defend the legal right to abortion and expand access. We won’t stop until everyone has the fundamental freedom to control their body, life, and future, on their own terms.”
Today, the Department of Justice announced that they have filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Austin challenging Texas’s SB 8 six-week abortion ban. They are seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction blocking the law’s enforcement by the State of Texas as well as by the private individuals it has effectively deputized to enforce the law. This is a needed announcement. President Biden and the Department of Justice brought the full might of the federal government to protect Texans from this dangerous and unjust law.