JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri was one of the first states in the nation to ban abortions following the Supreme Court’s decision because of a trigger law passed three years ago.
The General Assembly passed the “Right to Life of the Unborn Child Act” in 2019. Within the legislation, there’s a “trigger law,” meaning abortion would be abolished with a proclamation from the governor or the attorney general. Minutes after the U.S. Supreme Court issued the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the proclamation was signed.
Schmitt signed a proclamation at about 9:15 a.m. Shortly after, Governor Mike Parson also signed a proclamation that activates the “Right to Life of the Unborn Child Act.”
“With Roe v. Wade overturned and statutory triggers provided in HB 126, we are issuing this proclamation to restore our state authority to regulate abortion and protect life,” Parson said. “Thanks to decades of conservative leaders, Missouri has become one of the most pro-life states in the nation, and our Administration has always fought for the life of every unborn child. Today, our efforts have produced what generations of Missourians have worked and prayed for: Today, we have won our fight to protect innocent life.”
The proclamation Parson signed prohibits doctors from performing abortions unless there is a medical emergency and makes it a crime for any person who knowingly performs or induces a non-medical emergency abortion and subjects his or her professional license to suspension. It protects women who receive an illegal abortion from being prosecuted in violation of the act.
Hours after the proclamations were signed, dozens of anti-abortion supporters met on the steps of the Missouri Supreme Court to celebrate the victory.
“We have worked hard for five decades,” said Rep. Doug Richey (R-Excelsior Springs).
“It’s an incredibly emotional day, because of the people in this crowd, the court rendered the decision, but it’s the people here who made that happen,” said Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe.
In St. Louis, moments after learning of the Supreme Court’s decision, U.S. Rep. Cori Bush was at Planned Parenthood in St. Louis for an event and she broke down in tears.
“Forty-nine years they stripped away,” Bush said. “Health care is a human right; abortion is health care. When someone needs services because they have a toothache they go to a dentist, they don’t think about it.”
Others in disbelief stood on the Capitol lawn, facing the anti-abortion supporters.
“We’ve never known a world like this, I mean we are 20, 21 years old, but I’m going to fight as hard just because I know what people before me did, and I want to do them proud,” Columbia College student Melissa Rogge said.
Hours after the decision was released, Planned Parenthood announced it stopped abortions in Missouri. The only clinic left that performed the procedure was in St. Louis in the Central West End.
“We come here with thankful hearts, and we say thank you, God. Thank you, God,” Jennifer Gore with Concerned Women for America said on the steps of the Missouri Supreme Court.
Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman (R-Arnold) co-sponsored the legislation that does not allow exemptions for rape or incest survivors.
“Violence doesn’t solve other violence,” Coleman said. “That the support they need is not just to the life of their unborn child.”
The proclamation was signed Friday morning because of House Bill 126 passed back in 2019. The “Right to Life of the Unborn Child Act” was included in the bill and was contingent upon the Supreme Court overruling Roe v. Wade in whole or in part.
A day before House Bill 126 was set to go into effect it was blocked by a federal judge. The bill is being blocked by a federal judge, but the “trigger law” does not fall under this.
Back in September, a rare move as all 11 members of a federal court of appeals heard the case. House Bill 126 also contains language that would criminalize health care providers who violate the ban on abortions, resulting in prison time or having their medical licenses suspended or revoked.
The decision made by the Supreme Court Friday to fundamentally reshape American society by overturning the landmark 1973 precedent is certain to ignite a political firestorm and yield a complex patchwork of state laws that will effectively block large swathes of the population from terminating unwanted pregnancies.
Last year in Missouri there were 48 abortions performed at an abortion facility in Missouri. This trigger law also includes criminalizing a doctor or someone who performs an abortion. In a statement from Yamelsie Rodriguez, president and CEO of Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region said the health care provider isn’t going anywhere.
“Today is the worst-case scenario for 36 million people of reproductive age who live in 26 states including Missouri where abortion is now poised to be banned. 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.“Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region joins our partners in committing to re-building this system, for as long as it takes. We’re not going anywhere. We’re just getting started.”Yamelsie Rodriguez, president and CEO of Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region
House Minority Leader Crystal Quade (D-Springfield), said this ruling declares that the population doesn’t have the right to control their bodies.
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,” said House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield. “Republicans will not stop with abortion. They will begin stripping away access to birth control and contraception, in vitro fertilization and marriage equality.House Minority Leader Crystal Quade
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.