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Fight over abortion rights will continue, Democrats say

by Jeff Haldiman | June 25, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

Despite Friday's U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, it's clear that the battle over abortion rights has not been settled.

While Missouri Democrats lamented the decision, they vowed to continue working to bring back what they called "a fundamental right for women to have control of what happens to their bodies."

During an online news conference, Congresswoman Cori Bush of St. Louis said she heard about the decision while having discussions with officials at the Planned Parenthood offices in St. Louis, which was the sole abortion provider in the state.

"For those who had appointments for care or abortion services, they no longer have that because that was all stripped away after this decision," Bush said. "I came down to talk with advocates, patients and health workers and talked with them about what Missouri needs after this decision and what I can do as a member of Congress.

She added: "I am furious because I am thinking about people who are struggling that are now affected by this. As a nurse, we worked to find bus passes to get to people to an appointment, and I remember how hard that was. Now we have to find the resources for people in another state because our attorney general and our governor failed the people and in particular the Black and brown communities because they will feel the impact the most."

On Friday, Gov. Mike Parson and Attorney General Eric Schmitt signed proclamations banning abortion in the state following the Supreme Court ruling. In 2019, House Bill 126, or the "Right to Life of the Unborn Child Act," was enacted so that it could go into effect if Roe vs. Wade was overturned in whole or in part.

"We're telling people who had scheduled to come to St. Louis that they can still get care in Illinois and helping to get in contact with them," Bush said. "Our advocates are not shutting down, and I'm working to make sure these people get the care they still need."

Illinois is one 13 critical access states where patients will likely travel to for abortions.

Missouri House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, said banning same-sex marriage could be the next big issue the high court could tackle.

"I'm telling people that the only way that you'll be able to get change is by whom you send to Jefferson City," Quade said. "With Roe overturned, Missouri now requires people to remain pregnant against their will, treating them as little more than fetal incubators. Republicans will not stop with abortion. They will begin stripping away access to birth control and contraception and in vitro fertilization."

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver of Kansas City echoed Quade's message, saying, "We're going to have to buckle down and create a strong state party so we get candidates to the General Assembly. Human beings are supposed to be free to choose how they want to live their lives, and now we have the Supreme Court sticking their noses into people's bedrooms.

"Hopefully this will act as a fire to spark us instead of water that can drown us," Cleaver continued. "I had to console people after the court's vote; I kept telling them, 'We can either weep for the next 25 years or go to work for change.' I'm not giving up, and I want us to quit saying we'll lose in November. Don't demoralize our base."

Others weighing in against Friday's ruling included:

• Yamelsie Rodríguez, president and CEO of St. Louis Planned Parenthood: "Everything that led to the overturning of Roe should be a stain on our history from which we must learn and do better. This begins a rebuilding of a future with abortion equity -- not just rights or access, but rights and access for all people. From this day on, we cannot accept compromise, middle ground or 'good enough'. We must demand a system that creates abortion access for all people who need it, no matter their identity, insurance status or zip code."

• Luz María Henríquez, executive director of American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri: "The choice to have an abortion has been ripped from individuals and placed in predominantly white, male-led state legislatures across the country who have repeatedly failed to address issues that would make pregnancy safer or decrease the maternal mortality rate, which is four times higher for Black women than white women in Missouri. If abortion is banned nationwide, pregnancy-related deaths are estimated to increase by 21 percent nationwide, and 33 percent among Black women. Missouri consistently ranks in the bottom 10 states in the nation for maternal mortality."

Print Headline: Fight over abortion rights will continue, Democrats say


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