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Missouri Democrats push to restore abortion access on anniversary of Roe v. Wade


Monday was the 51st anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion across the country.

However, the Dobbs v. Jackson case in the summer of 2022 reversed that decades-old decision. Now, Missouri is one of 13 states with full abortion bans, except for in instances when the mother's life is in danger.

On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Democratic lawmakers in the Missouri House of Representatives are pushing a legislative package that they say is "aimed at restoring and protecting reproductive rights in Missouri and expanding access to reproductive health care services."

States in red are where abortion is illegal

The package consists of several bills and resolutions, sponsored by different members of the House Democratic caucus, two of which would restore access to abortion in Missouri.

Rep. Crystal Quade (D-Springfield) and Rep. Peter Merideth (D-St. Louis) introduced House Joint Resolutions 105 and 106, which aim to put abortion up for a vote of the people.

“Missourians must reassert their rights. Reproductive freedom will be on the Missouri ballot this year, and it will prevail," Quade said.

An initiative petition is circulating currently that aims to do the same. The petition faced a lengthy legal battle over the language and financial impact before it started circulating for signatures.

The initiative petition aims to codify abortion rights in the Missouri Constitution. There are 11 total rights it outlines, including access to abortion, birth control and miscarriage management. The petition also outlines parameters for each of those rights.

To be put on the ballot, the petition needs signatures from 5% of legal voters in six of eight voting districts. More information about the initiative petition process can be found online.

This initiative petition and conservative Missouri senators' efforts to make it more difficult to pass petitions held up the Missouri Senate last week.

Many other bills are being promoted as part of this package:

  • House Bill 2038: Establishes the "Respect People's Abortion Decisions Act"
  • House Bill 1874: Enacts provisions relating to continuous insurance coverage of self-administered hormonal contraceptives
  • House Bill 2295: Changes the laws regarding the dispensing of contraceptives
  • House Bill 2121: Establishes the "Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies (CARE) Act"
  • House Bill 1683: Creates provisions relating to insurance coverage for fertility treatments
  • House Bill 1446: Creates provisions relating to health insurance reimbursement of doula services
  • House Bill 1599: Establishing the Missouri Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act to require implicit bias training for providers of perinatal care
  • House Bill 2370: Requiring public middle and high schools, including charter schools, to provide period products at no charge to students
  • House Bill 2245: Prohibiting period tracker applications from sharing a person’s data without their consent

Even though Missouri effectively banned abortions nearly two years ago, there are still anti-abortion groups advocating throughout the state. Bonnie Lee with 40 Days for Life said her work has not changed since the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

"Same as it's always been. We reach out to women in their pregnancies, for the planned or unplanned, to help provide for their needs," Lee said.

Lee said legislatures are overstepping when trying to reinstate abortion access.

"What's the role for health care with our legislators? It's to prevent charlatans from taking advantage of people, so that there are regulations," Lee said.

Article Topic Follows: Missouri Politics

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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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