Lawmakers met under darkness to pass anti-abortion legislation
In a middle of the night session, republican lawmakers in Missouri passed legislation further endangering women, their health, and their ability to choose what happens to their bodies. But the most shocking piece is it also aims to overturn an ordinance that protects women from being discriminated against based on their use of contraception, pregnancy, or previous abortion.
The bill, sponsored by Republican Senator Andrew Koenig, would allow for unwarranted inspections of abortion clinics, give law enforcement power to the attorney general and would overturn an ordinance that prohibits employers and housing owners from discriminating against a woman for their “reproductive health decisions,” according to The Kansas City Star.
Stated simply, Missourians could be at risk for being legally discriminated against when trying to rent or purchase a home or be denied employment if they’ve had an abortion or used birth control.
But there’s more.
According to the Associated Press, the bill aims to “toss out requirements that doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, and that clinics meet hospital-like standards for outpatient surgery,” putting women’s lives at risk. For those of you thinking, “I don’t care what happens to the woman, it’s her fault if she chooses to have an abortion,” you are not pro-life, you are pro-fetus.
Missouri is also only one of only five states that require women wait 72 hours after receiving counseling before getting an abortion. While some may say it is good to have time to think about such an important decision, it puts poor women at even greater risk reports TIME. Because Planned Parenthood now only offers the procedure in St. Louis (also pending in this bill are applications by Planned Parenthood to perform abortions in Columbia, Joplin, and Kansas City), this would mean women traveling far from the city have to make the journey for counseling then pay for lodging, food, etc. for three days while they wait. This is not feasible for all families.
One of the proponents of the bill, Senator Onder, said the regulations in his bill are “common-sense health and safety standards to protect Missouri women.”
The only things consistently demonstrated to protect women and lower abortion rates are access to health care for women, reproductive education, and access to contraception they can afford. Outlawing abortion has not been proven to reduce abortion rates, they just making getting an abortion more dangerous.
St. Louis resident Robin Utz “slammed efforts to undo her city’s ordinance,” reports ABC News. Utz had an abortion this year when doctors found her daughter had a fatal disease that would “cause her pain as she developed in the womb.” As she sat next to Onder, Utz said this legislation, “allows people to decline to ever hire me or support me in any way because of my beliefs that we did the right thing.”
The Missouri House convenes this week and will decide whether to approve this legislation without changes where it will move to the governor for decision, or negotiate with the Senate for adjustments.