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Abortion foes celebrate Missouri’s ban after Supreme Court decision; advocates vow political fight

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt on Missouri abortion ban
rally and counter roe
Anti-abortion activists rally outside the Missouri Supreme Court building while abortion-rights advocates stand across the street Friday, June 24, 2022.

Watch reaction to the decision throughout the day.


Missouri became the first state to ban abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade on Friday, setting off a celebration by anti-abortion activists and vows of a political fight by abortion-rights supporters.

Attorney General Eric Schmitt took immediate action Friday to implement a ban on most abortions in Missouri.

The precedent that allowed abortion nationwide was overturned in a 5-4 decision Friday morning. Schmitt immediately signed an opinion that -- along with a proclamation from the governor -- triggered a state ban on abortions except for "in cases of medical emergency" that lawmakers passed in 2019. The ban was written to go into effect after a decision overturning the precedent.

"Today is a historic day, but we also remember over 60 million innocent lives lost," Schmitt wrote in a social media post announcing his action.

Gov. Mike Parson followed up with a proclamation effectively ending abortion in Missouri.

"Nothing in the text, history, or tradition of the United States Constitution gave un-elected federal judges authority to regulate abortion. We are happy that the U.S. Supreme Court has corrected this error and returned power to the people and the states to make these decisions," Parson said in a written statement.

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft spoke at a rally celebrating the decision held outside the Missouri Supreme Court. "It is a great time to rejoice in a state that is committed to making sure that every life can grow up to be the greatest it can be," Ashcroft said.

Abortion access

Abortion had already been sharply limited in Missouri, with only one remaining clinic able to perform abortions statewide. State senators approved a resolution in this year's session to create a mechanism for the trigger law to take effect. The new law includes no exception for rape or incest.

The law doesn't ban birth control or the "morning after" pill but activists worry that could be next, said Mallory Schwarz with Pro-Choice Missouri.

On Friday, Planned Parenthood said that clinic would immediately stop abortion services.

The ban prohibits all abortions except in the case of a medical emergency. Doctors found guilty of performing an abortion would face a Class B felony and potentially lose their medical license.

Planned Parenthood Great Plains said in a statement that it had immediately halted abortions in its clinics. The provider, which covers western Missouri, did not have any clinics providing abortion in the state.

“Two hundred and fifty years ago, our country’s founders said, ‘All men are created equal.’ Today, the Supreme Court took the ‘men’ part literally, stripping rights from every woman in America,” Emily Wales, president and CEO, said in a statement.

Missouri politicians react

Conservative Missouri politicians immediately made statements praising the decision, which is the culmination of a long battle by conservatives to get the precedent overturned. U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville) called the decision "a monumental win for the American people and millions of unborn lives."

Democratic politicians and candidates quickly condemned the ruling. Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Lucas Kunce called on Congress to put abortion rights into law.

"This is a Big Brother attack on all of us, and we have to fight back," Kunce said. "Congress must immediately end the filibuster and codify Roe v. Wade. If they won't, then we must replace them."

Missouri Democrats react to the ruling

The Missouri Democratic Party labeled Republicans "extremists" after the ruling.

“With Roe overturned, Missouri now requires people to remain pregnant against their will, treating them as little more than fetal incubators with no rights or role in the decision, even in cases of rape and incest,” House Minority Leader Crystal Quade (D-Springfield) said in a written statement. “Republicans will not stop with abortion. They will begin stripping away access to birth control and contraception, in vitro fertilization and marriage equality.

“Just this past session, Missouri Republicans proposed bills criminalizing the treatment of ectopic pregnancies and crossing state lines to have an abortion in a state where the right to privacy and bodily autonomy is respected. With the federal courts no longer protecting basic rights, Missourians must elect more lawmakers who are willing to do so or we will quickly become a state where government oppression replaces personal freedom.”

Rallies in reaction

Abortion opponents rally in Jefferson City

Anti-abortion activists rallied outside the Missouri Supreme Court, saying the fight is not over as long as some states have laws allowing abortion.

"Well first of all it's constitutional," said anti-abortion activist Bonnie Lee. "Our constitution does not give anyone the right to an abortion. Our constitution actually doesn't give a right to health care, it doesn't address those kinds of things. Our constitution says the state has that authority."

Pro-abortion counter-protesters gathered across the street at the State Capitol. They expressed disappointment in their elected officials and the desire to fight on.

"It's so sad that something as arbitrary as state lines can determine whether or not you have access to a safe, legal abortion," said pro-abortion protester Karalynn Fisher.

The progressive political group CoMo for Progress planned rallies at the Boone County Courthouse on Friday and Saturday to protest the decision.

Article Topic Follows: Missouri Politics
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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

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Hannah Falcon

Hannah joined the ABC 17 News Team from Houston, Texas, in June 2021. She graduated from Texas A&M University. She was editor of her school newspaper and interned with KPRC in Houston. Hannah also spent a semester in Washington, D.C., and loves political reporting.


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