Within mere minutes of the overturning of the 50-year-old Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that enshrined the nationwide right to an abortion, MO Attorney General and Republican Senate Candidate implemented Missouri’s trigger law to ban abortion within the state. In the stunning 6-3 decision released today that effectively wipes clean a half-century of legal precedent, dozens of states are quickly adjusting to an uncertain post-Roe future.
For millions of women in states like Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and more – that means reduced or completely eliminated access to a healthcare procedure that has been relied upon for decades. However, the implementation of these various trigger laws and near-term legislation poses additional questions and legal possibilities. In Missouri, the abortion ban triggered today is decidedly extreme: abortion is entirely banned, even in cases of rape or incest, save for very specific exceptions for the life of the mother.
Political leaders across the St. Louis area are reacting quickly online, with strong statements from St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and County Executive Sam Page promising to protect women seeking reproductive healthcare to the best of their abilities. In the City, some legislative leaders have introduced legislation that would utilize ARPA funds to assist women seeking to cross state lines for an abortion. Even strong actions like these are likely to face future legal hurdles from the staunchly anti-abortion state legislators in Jefferson City who are considering laws like those in Texas that would criminalize and/or penalize travel out-of-state for abortions.
It remains unclear what clear avenues exist in the near-term for abortion advocates to embolden abortion access despite strong, majority national support for at least some access to abortion services. Although it may take years for the Supreme Court to change in political composition, reproductive freedoms will be challenged elsewhere across the states, including here in Missouri where some state legislators like Sen. Bob Onder are seeking to ban access to various forms of contraception. Though such legislative actions sound at first outlandish, they exist within the context of a state government that already was revealed to be tracking Missouri women’s period cycles.
It is likely that major demonstrations will take place at the St. Louis Planned Parenthood in the Central West End, the clinic that, until today, was the very last in the State of Missouri to provide abortion services.