In 1973, the Supreme Court passed the landmark Roe v Wade ruling which recognized the legal right to abortion. Since then, anti-abortion politicians have worked relentlessly to restrict access to abortion—all with the intention of overturning Roe and banning abortion outright. Emboldened by the outcomes of the 2016 election, ideologues pushed even further in their attempts to rollback abortion access: 25 bans on abortion swept through statehouses across the country in 2019, including the Missouri Legislature.
House Bill 126 (HB 126) made international headlines as one of the most dangerous bans on abortion in the nation. Among the legislation’s provisions are banning abortion at nearly every stage of pregnancy, criminalizing doctors for providing abortion, and zero exceptions for survivors of rape or incest.
While bans on abortion are an urgent threat to all aspects of our lives, HB 126 poses an immediate and direct threat to Missourians’ economic stability. When people are denied access to reproductive healthcare and control over their own healthcare decisions, their financial livelihood suffers, and as a result, their physical, mental, and emotional health. Nowhere is this more acutely identified than in St. Louis, home to the sole clinic that provides abortions in Missouri.
This report, jointly released by the Office of the Treasurer of the City of St. Louis, Tishaura O. Jones, and NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri Foundation identifies the effect of HB 126 on people’s
financial livelihood and wellbeing, within the microcosm of St. Louis City, as well as the rippling impact on the public and private sector. Precisely, this report identifies how restrictions on abortion compound negative social determinants of health, including systemic racism, and amplify existing racial inequality to create financial barriers to accessing care—from the actual cost of an abortion, to accumulating costs, such as travel and childcare expenses—widening gaps in economic stability, education, and housing.
The need to protect and expand abortion access in Missouri feels more urgent than ever during the twin crisis disproportionately impacting Black people and people of color inSt. Louis and across the state: the coronavirus pandemic, and systemic racism. The Office of the Treasurer is committed to empowering St. Louisans in making smart economic decisions. The decision of if, when, how, and with whom to start or grow your family is not just a personal one, it is an economic one; and protecting this decision is critical to the health and economic wellbeing of all St. Louisans.
Read the full report below examining the effects of HB 126 on St. Louis.