If Missouri Becomes the First State with No Health Center that Provides Abortion Care, the Public Health Emergency that Results Will Harm Moms Throughout the State
“The irresponsible, ideologically-driven actions by anti-abortion lawmakers in Missouri could create a devastating public health emergency that harms moms throughout the state. Every woman needs access to safe, legal abortion care, as well as the birth control and family planning services – and cancer and sexually-transmitted-disease screenings – that Planned Parenthood clinics provide. Yet for no legitimate reason, Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services is threatening not to renew the license of Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, which is the only women’s health clinic still providing abortion care in the state. If they do so, Missouri could become the first state with no health center that provides abortion care, despite the fact that abortion is legal, in Missouri and in every state.
“Most women who get abortion care are mothers, and they do so primarily out of economic concerns for their families. What is happening in Missouri is an attack on women and moms in the state, and part of a coordinated attack on women and moms in America. No woman should ever have to travel to another state for basic health care. No doctor should ever be harassed, threatened or imprisoned for providing health care to women who need it.
“If those who are trying to deny women access to reproductive health care really wanted to stop abortion, they would be ensuring access to free birth control. They are not doing so. Instead, they are waging a direct attack on the bodily autonomy, economic freedom, and sovereignty of moms and women. Being able to manage how many children we have and when we have them has been nothing short of revolutionary – not just for women and mothers, but for our country as a whole. It has helped to narrow the gender pay gap, improve the health of women and their families, and lead women toward increased economic and political power. America’s moms will fight for as long as we must to secure every woman’s rights and freedoms.”
--Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Executive Director and CEO, MomsRising
“If lawmakers in Missouri truly wanted to reduce the need for abortion, they would focus on expanding access to free birth control. But that’s not what they are doing. Their real goal is to restrict women’s rights and freedoms.
“The United States has the worst maternal mortality rate in the developed world, and our dangerous and deadly maternal health outcomes disproportionately harm Black and Native women. Black women are three to four times more likely to die or experience severe morbidity during childbirth, independent of income, education, or parity. Lawmakers in Missouri, and across our country, should be working to advance maternal justice by improving access to reproductive health care and supporting a woman’s right to choose if, when and how many children to have, along with providing more support during the pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum periods. They should find effective ways to address the systemic challenges mothers face due to race, class, and gender disparities.
“Most women who have abortions are moms and all women must be able to make the deeply personal decisions about abortion with dignity and without interference from politicians.”
-Monifa Bandele, Senior Vice President, MomsRising