Bold Prediction: Missouri Will Overturn Abortion Ban

Looking ahead to St. Louis in 2023

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click to enlarge A recent protest for reproductive rights in Kiener Plaza. - Theo Welling
Theo Welling
A recent protest for reproductive rights in Kiener Plaza.

Ah, Missouri. Already home to some of the worst maternal mortality rates in the country, the state was also the first in the union to revoke a woman's right to choose when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs decision. So now, women are really fucked (and not in baby-making way, conservatives).

Leaving aside that being able to opt out of an accidental pregnancy is really actually beneficial to society — you want that baby born addicted to fentanyl and crack? You want that molested 10-year-old child to be a mom? And take the baby back into a family that abused a child? Really? — there's still good reason to keep make abortion legal, as we've learned. It's actually really hard for doctors to determine if it's legal to help a woman expel fetal tissue if a pregnancy has naturally ended.

Last year, Missouri's Mylissa Farmer spoke out about not being able to get treatment when her water broke at 18 weeks, effectively ending the fetus' viability. Farmer said in a campaign ad for Trudy Busch Valentine that the doctor cited the state's abortion ban as the reason.

"My Missouri doctors weren't allowed to give me the care I needed, all because of the mandate Eric Schmitt put into place," Farmer said in the ad. "Eric Schmitt doesn't care about women like me." Stories like this proliferated across the country, of women carrying dead babies because doctors refused to help them at all or refused to help them till the mother's health was in danger, so they could make sure they were well within the law, which usually makes exceptions for medical emergencies.

People could recognize that this was no good. Across the country, and most especially in our neighbor state Kansas, people were upholding abortion rights and striking down abortion bans left and right. But in Missouri, Eric Schmitt, the same dumbass who banned abortion in the first place, went from being our attorney general to being elected our senator so he could take his terrible ideas to D.C. to torture the nation.

Given that this is Missouri and no one seems to hold it against Schmitt and Ann Wagner or any of the other Republicans that their terrible ideas are killing moms, it might seem foolhardy to suggest that Missouri is going to overturn this abortion ban.

But overturn it we shall ... if it is a stand-alone constitutional amendment or proposition. We won't overturn it by electing different legislators. Analysis as to why people stick with the Republican Party but then vote for things that Republicans don't like (see legalizing marijuana or, in Kansas, keeping the right to choose in the constitution) is beyond my purview. But if activists put abortion on the ballot, even in Missouri, and say, "You want to be able to do this again?" Enough smart women (and men) of voting age will line up (I'm talking take the day off to line up) and vote hell yes on that thing. They may also turn around and vote for the embarrassment that is Josh Hawley but one step at a time, folks.

Welcome to Bold Predictions for 2023, an effort to forecast what the future holds for the St. Louis region.

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About The Author

Rosalind Early

Rosalind is the editor-in-chief of the Riverfront Times. She formerly worked for Washington University's alumni magazine and St. Louis Magazine. In 2018, she was selected as a Rising Leader of Color by the Theatre Communications Group. In 2014, she was selected as an Emerging Leader by FOCUS St. Louis. Her work...
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