The Impact of HB 126 on the Economic Health of Missouri’s Families, and Private and Public Sectors
Every day, across the world, people have abortions. It’s a routine practice of reproductive healthcare, a basic pillar of human rights. But as states around the country enact dangerous laws that jeopardize this fundamental freedom, the landscape of abortion access—and the ability to access and afford abortions—drastically shifts across states. Missouri is the worst-case scenario.
Relentless attacks on abortion have been the standard in Missouri for decades, despite the fact that 77% of Americans support legal abortion. But there’s no doubt that 2019 saw a pivotal shift in the extremism of the legislation that passed. In May 2019, anti-abortion lawmakers passed one of the most dangerous bans on abortion in the nation, House Bill 126 (HB 126). This draconian bill ticked every box in the
anti-abortion playbook: banning abortion before most people know they are pregnant, imprisoning doctors for providing abortion services, no exceptions for survivors of rape or incest, and more.
While HB 126 poses an urgent threat to all aspects of Missourians’ lives, bans on abortion are an immediate danger to an individual’s economic stability. When people are denied control over their reproductive health, their financial livelihood suffers, and as a result, their physical, mental and emotional health. These restrictions compound systems of structural racism and widen gaps in economic stability, education, and housing. The need to protect and expand abortion access in Missouri feels more urgent than ever, particularly during the twin crisis disproportionately impacting Black Missourians: the coronavirus pandemic, and Anti-Black racism.
This report, jointly released by the City of St. Louis Mayor’s Office, Tishaura O. Jones, the City of St. Louis Treasurer’s Office, Adam Layne, and NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri Foundation, identifies the ripple effect of HB 126 on the financial, livelihood and wellbeing of Missourians. Precisely, this report identifies how restrictions on abortion create financial barriers to accessing care—from the actual cost of an abortion, to accumulating costs, such as travel and childcare expenses. Through the stories of people who have had abortions, this report shines a bright light on the danger of HB 126 on Missourians’ financial stability, past and present.
Additionally, lawsuits over bans and restriction on abortion cost taxpayers’ money—and lots of it. This report takes a deep dive into the high price tag of HB 126 on the public and private sector. As a whole, the report identifies the most immediate financial consequences of HB 126, and offers short and long-term solutions to alleviating financial barriers to abortion, and subsequently, improving the economic wellbeing of all Missourians.
At NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, we believe no matter the reason, every decision to choose abortion is valid and responsible, and the right to make this decision must be upheld. As this report will show, bans on abortion harm all of us. 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 everybody in Missouri. Cities like St. Louis can play a unique role in mitigating the harm caused by state or federal policy, and the City of St. Louis Mayor’s Office and Treasurer’s Office are committed to challenging these bans and empowering all people in our state to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.