The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has proposed a rule that would force providers to administer an invasive pelvic exam at least 72 hours before a nonsurgical abortion. In June, health care providers resisted this medically unnecessary rule, stating that it only puts patients in more danger, especially patients who are survivors of sexual assault. At best, even medically necessary pelvic exams are uncomfortable, but for survivors of previous trauma, they can be devastating.

Rather than listen to the recommendations of the medical community, the state believes they should decide when and how patients should receive pelvic examinations. Two years ago, agency officials agreed with Planned Parenthood’s decision to perform pelvic exams only when medically necessary  on the day of a surgical abortion. Since Randall Williams became Director of the DHSS, however, more than 100 Missourians have been subjected to a medically unnecessary pelvic exam against the will of both patients and their providers.

No person should be forced to undergo a medically unnecessary, and invasive procedure in order to access basic health care.

The proposed rule sanctions sexual assault and is a violation of individuals’ rights, dignity, and wellbeing.

Take Action.

Email an official comment to Dean Linneman, the Director of the Division of Regulation and Licensure at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services by Friday, August 30 to prevent the administration from mandating medically unnecessary pelvic exams on patients seeking abortion care! Copy and paste our sample message below — and don’t forget to add a personal message or story.

Click here to send your email or email dean.linneman@health.mo.gov.

SAMPLE MESSAGE

Subject of email: Stop state-mandated sexual assault! (Proposed rule No. 030-030-60)

Dear Dean Linneman,

As a Missourian from __________, I strongly oppose proposed rule No. 030-030-60 that mandates pregnant people seeking abortion care undergo a medically unnecessary pelvic exam. Forcing people to undergo invasive procedures for no legitimate medical reason is state-sanctioned assault, and is a violation of our rights. 

This law puts the state between me and my healthcare provider. As a patient, I trust that my health care provider will treat me with the best care, according to their training and expertise. Nobody trying to access healthcare should be subject to invasive, medically unnecessary examinations, against the medical advice of their doctor. 

This rule is unethical, and coercive, and attempts to manipulate pregnant people out of accessing legal abortion care. 

The Department of Health and Senior Services should be doing their jobs — protecting individuals’ health and welfare — rather than punishing Missourians for trying to access a standard of healthcare we all deserve.  

I care about this because: [ YOUR STORY HERE]

The price of an abortion should not be state-mandated sexual assault. Reproductive healthcare is a human right, one that should not be contingent on the whims of an ethically compromised state official, abusing his position to advance a cruel anti-choice agenda. DHSS, put Missourians first, and revoke this rule.  

Sincerely,

[ YOUR NAME]

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