If you have noticed in the news there has been a lot of noise around whether abortions are illegal in Missouri. You are not mistaken; recently Missouri has passed laws to restrict women’s rights to access healthcare. If you are wondering what that means to you listen to this story.

There is a young woman named Jessica. She and her boyfriend have been together for a little over a year. She can recall the day they met like it was yesterday. Often times she thinks back to that hot and humid St. Louis summer evening when her boyfriend approached her saying, “Hey beautiful, I noticed you were looking my way. If your friends will let you I’d love to take you out and hit up Skate King.”  Of course she would say yes because little did he know she had a crush on him since high school. It wasn’t long after their graduation they started dating. If you ask her it seems like that summer was years ago and honestly things haven’t been going well lately. Maybe it’s because of the pressure she is facing trying to enroll in college in the fall. Maybe it is because of all the medical bills she is paying for her mother who recently got sick. Maybe it is because the job she works for is refusing to give her a raise even though she has worked there since she turned 16. It might be any one of those things but maybe it’s the reality she and her boyfriend haven’t been seeing eye to eye on the paths they want to pursue in life. One day her mom had another appointment to discuss an upcoming procedure. She figured she might as well make an appointment also because she hasn’t felt too well lately. What started off as routine test; ended with the words she would never forget, “Jessica we ran some test and it turns out you are pregnant.”

“How can I be? We use protection all the time? I know my cycle has been bit irregular but…”, Jessica would question.

She forgotten about that one time when she and her boyfriend had a few drinks at that party. It has been just a week since she had missed her period. Almost a week goes by when reality starts to set in. Her and her boyfriend knew that their relationship wasnt in the best place and that bringing a child into the world wouldn’t be the best thing at the moment. Jessica is the only person with a stable job but even that is barely paying more than minimum wage. Between the rent, phone bills, utilities, putting food in the fridge and her mother’s medical expense where is she supposed to find the money for an abortion?  Even if she could afford it; under Missouri’s abortion law she would have to pull hundreds of dollars out of the air within two weeks. This is just one example of the reality that some will face but there are many other types of situations where this law will be devastating. The law is so strict that it doesn’t have exceptions for circumstances of rape or incest.

The law that goes into effect has a few details to understand:

The Facts

·       Sponsored by State Representative Nick Schroer (R- O’Fallon)

·       No abortions after 8 weeks unless medical emergency.

·       Defines Viable Pregnancy as “in the first trimester of pregnancy, an intrauterine pregnancy that can potentially result in a live born baby.”

·       No abortion in any case except medical emergency

·       Violation Class B felony, affirmative defense if it was due to medical emergency

·       Language in the printed materials shall prominently display the following statement: “The life of each human being begins at conception. Abortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being” and women shall be provided with ultrasound of the unborn child and hear the heartbeat of the unborn child if the heartbeat is audible.

·       Requires all printed material shall include information about the possibility of the fetus feeling pain at as early as 8 weeks and the actual steps of the abortion and at which steps the “unborn child” will feel pain.

·       Deletes all information of a 22 week abortion

·       No person shall perform or induce an abortion on a woman if the person knows that the woman is seeking the abortion solely because of a prenatal diagnosis, test, or screening indicating potential Down Syndrome, or because of the sex or race of unborn child.

·       Dr. shall be subject to all applicable civil penalties of this chapter including losing their medical license, facing malpractice, and a Class B Felony

·       In cases of medical emergency, doctor must use method most likely to preserve life of unborn child

These are a few examples of the details of the new law that makes Missouri one of the strictest states within the nation. Currently the great people of this state are seeking a ballot initiative to that aims to reverse the 8 week abortion ban that goes into effect on August 28th. When legislators fail we must stay engaged. If you want to stand for a woman’s right to choose you can do so by support the following things. You can sign the petition once it is released. You can donate to an organization such as Planned Parenthood or NARAL. Lastly, you can call upon the Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft to certify the petitions for circulation.

Join us August 2nd, 2019 at 12:00pm at the Secretary of States office located at 815 Olive, St. Louis, MO 63104. All across the state of Missouri we will be standing in solidarity to call upon the Secretary of State to do his job and certify the petitions. For more information contact:

Sara Baker, ACLU, sbaker@aclu-mo.org, 314.809.0658

Sarah Felts, Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri sarah.felts@ppmissouri.org
314.221.2293 Sarah Felts with Planned Parenthood 

Marty Murray Jr
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