ST. LOUIS - Tuesday, pro-abortion candidates endorsed by Advocates of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri (Advocates of PPSLRSWMO) clinched critical victories in the fight to reclaim reproductive freedom in a post-Roe reality. These victories mean Illinois’ role as a critical access point for abortion patients remains protected and the work to rebuild abortion access in Missouri has begun. Illinois voters held its pro-abortion majority in the General Assembly and elected reproductive health champions up and down the ballot. In Missouri, Advocates of PPSLRSWMO helped flip important statehouse seats in St. Louis County and southwest Missouri — HD 98 and HD 136 — from anti-abortion to pro-abortion offices, chipping away at the anti-abortion supermajority in Jefferson City.
Advocates of PPSLRSWMO congratulates its targeted House and Senate candidates across the St. Louis metro area and southwest Missouri — Betsy Fogle (HD 135), Bridget Walsh Moore (HD 93), Deb Lavender (HD 98), Stephanie Hein (HD 136), and Tracy McCreery (SD 24) — for their demonstrated commitment to rebuilding reproductive freedom and centering abortion equity.
Across the river, Illinois allies — JB Pritzker (Governor), Juliana Stratton (Lt. Governor), Kwame Raoul (Attorney General), Chris Belt (SD 57), and Katie Stuart (HD 112) — will return to Springfield to defend what has become a critical access point in the fight to preserve what little is left of abortion access in this region.
Statement from Yamelsie Rodríguez, president and CEO, Advocates of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri:
“Change doesn’t happen in one election cycle. Missouri voters took the first important step to rebuild abortion rights in a post-Roe reality. Together with our partners, we worked to elect reproductive health champions who will hold the line in Jefferson City without compromising our rights and freedoms. Our commitment to Missourians is this: we will keep doing the work alongside you to build a pro-abortion majority in our state legislature.
“Advocates of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri knows the fight to win a pro-abortion majority in Missouri and in Congress is long-term work that requires us to push through some short-term losses. Eric Schmitt is a dangerous tool of the anti-democracy machine that played a key role in banning abortion in Missouri. In the years to come, we have many more anti-abortion politicians to kick out of office, including Schmitt.
“In Illinois, abortion providers have stepped up in unimaginable ways to ensure people in this state and beyond can access care in the most difficult abortion access landscape our generation has experienced. Illinois voters did their part to ensure providers on the ground have the political back-up and a sound state Supreme Court bench necessary to navigate the public health crisis created in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned.
“We look forward to deepening our work with Gov. Pritzker’s administration, elected allies in southern Illinois, and the robust network of pro-abortion partners across the state."
In poll after poll, abortion bans are deeply unpopular with voters. In exit polling this election cycle, the issue of reproductive freedom was one of the most important issues for voters, driving their decisions at the ballot box. One week before Election Day, eight in 10 American adults (81%) said abortion was important to their midterm vote, including a 56% majority who said it is very important (PORES/Survey Monkey).
Advocates of PPSLRSWMO electoral program deployed more than 257,000 texts, mailers, phone calls, and door knocks to reach tens of thousands of voters. The fight for equitable access to sexual and reproductive health care is, and has always been, at the state level. Change doesn’t happen in one election cycle. It takes collaboration and what will be years of tough work ahead to defeat the anti-abortion majority in Jefferson City.