Statement from NOW President Toni Van Pelt and Missouri NOW President Freda Mckee:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The draconian abortion ban signed into law by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson would criminalize abortions performed during or after the eighth week of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest. As we’ve seen in other states where anti-abortion junk science has prevailed over constitutional protections and reproductive rights, Missouri’s ban will be challenged in court.
Ordinarily, that would mean a legal freeze on enacting these immoral restrictions while the appeal is underway, but now we know that Missouri has no intention of following the law. Missouri’s health department refused to renew the license of Missouri’s only remaining clinic performing abortions for unspecified reasons, citing “possible deficiencies” that they’ve told Planned Parenthood could lead to criminal referrals against doctors. Only a last-minute judicial ruling, rooted in legal precedent and constitutional norms, temporarily prevented the illegal and immoral closing of Missouri’s last remaining clinic performing abortions.
Gov. Parson and the anti-abortion extremists who’ve hijacked state politics have blown up the legal system, ignored the appeal process and hijacked democracy by attempting to unilaterally shut down Missouri’s last abortion clinic. This outrageous step would have made Missouri the first state without an abortion clinic since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.
If the extremists have their way, supporters of reproductive rights will have nothing left to appeal. The clinic will be gone before the next court hearing and women of Missouri will suffer, especially women of color and women living in poverty. Their lives will be further endangered and they will face an undue burden when trying to access their constitutional right to safe, legal and affordable abortion care.
NOW sees through this transparent attempt to circumvent the law and impose the anti-abortion crowd’s version of religious law on women. What’s next–Handmaid’s Tale dress codes and scarlet letters? Thought police?
Missouri’s end run around our legal and reproductive rights must not stand.
Kimberly Hayes, Press Secretary, email@example.com, 202-570-4745