NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri has been on the front lines fighting to protect and advance reproductive freedom for more than four decades, and has been the first line of defense to the incessant anti-choice attacks at the state level in recent years. While there is value in being the lead defender against anti-choice attacks in our state, there is a clear need to shift to an offensive approach – to not just protect, but expand reproductive rights.
Legislative victories for pro-choice advocates in 2018 include:
HB 1606 An amendment was added to this legislation which would make sex education more comprehensive in Missouri! Sex ed curricula are now required to include language about what sexual assault, sexual harassment and consent look like.
HB 2280 Bipartisan efforts passed this bill which will expand MO HealthNet benefits for postpartum women to receive substance abuse treatment. Women will now be able to receive these benefits for up to one year after giving birth.
SB 826 An amendment was added to this bill that will allow the state to reallocate LARCs (long-acting reversible contraceptives) that were abandoned before insertion. This bill will save the state thousands of dollars and will increase access to contraception.
SB 870 An amendment was added to this bill that will prevent pregnant offenders in the Dept. of Corrections from being shackled in the third trimester. While city and county jails were not included in the final language of the bill, this is a good first step to ending the shackling of pregnant offenders leading up to and during labor.
NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri also fought back against anti-choice attacks.
During the regular legislative session in 2018, NARAL Missouri was able to help defeat over 20 pieces of anti-choice policy that would further restrict access to basic healthcare.
However, anti-choice provisions in the budget (HB 2010 and HB 2011), were passed that strip Planned Parenthood of their Medicaid reimbursements, effectively defunding them in the state. The budget also allocated funding to so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” (CPCs)—anti-choice organizations known to intimidate and deceive women in order to manipulate them against choosing an abortion. Donors to CPCs will also see increased tax breaks for their contributions thanks to HB 1288. The General Assembly allocated $3.5 million to CPC donors, which could and should go to expanding Medicaid in the state or feeding hungry children and families instead.
Notably, the GOP super majority in the Missouri General Assembly moved on legislation this session that would have banned abortion at 20 weeks and required minors to get notification from both parents/guardians before receiving an abortion. However, neither were given a final vote or passed. We will be on the lookout for similar legislation in 2019.