GOP legislatures in some states seek ways to undermine voters’ ability to determine abortion rights

Legislative efforts in Missouri and Mississippi are attempting to prevent voters from having a say over abortion rights

January 28, 2024

CHICAGO -- Legislative efforts in Missouri and Mississippi are attempting to prevent voters from having a say over abortion rights, building on anti-abortion strategies seen in other states, including last year in Ohio.

Democrats and abortion rights advocates say the efforts are evidence that Republican lawmakers and abortion opponents are trying to undercut democratic processes meant to give voters a direct role in forming state laws.


Missouri advocates launch campaign to restore abortion access in the state

It’s one of two ballot measure efforts to shore up abortion access in the first state to outlaw abortion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022.

Grace Panetta, Political reporter
January 18, 2024

A coalition of abortion rights advocates in Missouri is formally launching a campaign to pass a constitutional amendment restoring a right to abortion, one of two ballot measure efforts in the state this year.

Missouri was the first state to outlaw abortion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022 with a law that bans virtually all abortions and threatens physicians who defy the ban with felony charges. The ban has no exceptions for rape or incest, only for a threat to the patient’s health.


Why ‘viability’ is dividing the abortion rights movement

By Associated Press AP
Jan. 16, 2024

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Reproductive rights activists in Missouri agree they want to get a ballot measure before voters this fall to roll back one of the strictest abortion bans in the country and ensure access. The sticking point is how far they should go.

The groups have been at odds over whether to include a provision that would allow the state to regulate abortions after the fetus is viable, a concession supporters of the language say will be needed to persuade voters in the conservative state.


We Can’t Give Up on States With Abortion Bans

On my campus and in advocacy spaces, I often find myself in the minority opinion, fighting for the states that so many have left behind. The response to Dobbs cannot be a tactical retreat.


As the first anniversary of the Dobbs v. Jackson decision approached, I sat in a training session with my student reproductive rights advocacy group, excited to hear from a longtime abortion rights champion on how we could continue strengthening our advocacy efforts as students in a state with a total abortion ban. I was taken aback when this leader advised me and my fellow student advocates to focus less on Missouri. This perspective that in our post-Dobbs landscape, we need to center our efforts solely on investing in abortion access in states where abortion is still legal is an increasingly common one among pro-abortion advocates and providers. It has left states like Missouri behind as the abortion rights movement has been forced into crisis management.

Since Missouri became the first state to completely ban abortion after Dobbs, activists and providers have been left to address a fragmented reproductive rights landscape. Clinics in Illinois, where abortion is still accessible without restriction, frequently saw Missouri patients even before the fall of Roe, as harsh restrictions and TRAP laws made abortion largely inaccessible to Missourians.


I was pregnant, and getting an out-of-state termination was already scary. Then I got caught out by a fake abortion clinic.

Bethany Dawson
Aug 21, 2022

This article is based on conversations with Anna Smith, who asked that her real name not be used, from Kansas City, Missouri, who needed an abortion in a state where the procedure has been illegal since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. She detailed the problems she faced trying to cross the state line to get an abortion.

Roe v. Wade being overturned broke my heart. In the red state of Missouri, we had a trigger ban waiting for the Supreme Court judgment to drop. The moment it did, I knew every woman in my state would have their life changed.


USA – ‘This Is Life Or Death For Some Patients.’ How I Help People Access Abortion Care

APRIL 18, 2022

Angela Huntington’s phone has been ringing nonstop lately. The Missourian works at Planned Parenthood, and, this past September, stepped into a newly created role within the organization called a “patient navigator.” This means she takes calls from patients across the country who need an abortion, but who can’t get one in their state — usually due to laws limiting access where they live. Such laws have become more and more common over the last decade, but, in the past year, a number of bills restricting access to reproductive healthcare have passed and made a dire situation even worse, advocates say. In fact, 2021 was “the worst year for abortion rights” in nearly half a century, according to The Guttmacher Institute.


Abortion access under renewed threat in Oklahoma and Missouri

By Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN
Sun April 10, 2022

(CNN)While abortion rights advocates could secure several victories in US states in the coming days, they're sounding the alarm about an Oklahoma bill that would ban nearly all abortions that's likely to be signed into law. Here are some of this week's moves in state legislatures and by state leaders you may have missed.

Oklahoma sends near-total ban on abortion to governor
Oklahoma legislators passed a bill on Tuesday that would make performing an abortion illegal in the state, except to save the life of the pregnant woman in a medical emergency.


Missouri lawmaker seeks to stop residents from obtaining abortions out of state

The measure could signal a new strategy by the antiabortion movement to extend its influence beyond the GOP-led states poised to enact tighter restrictions if the Supreme Court weakens its landmark precedent upholding abortion rights.

By Caroline Kitchener
March 8, 2022

The pattern emerges whenever a Republican-led state imposes new restrictions on abortion: People seeking the procedure cross state lines to find treatment in places with less-restrictive laws.

Now, a prominent antiabortion lawmaker in Missouri, from where thousands of residents have traveled to next-door Illinois to receive abortions since Missouri passed one of the country’s strictest abortion laws in 2019, believes she has found a solution.


Lawmakers are racing to mimic the Texas abortion law in their own states. They say the bills will fly through.

‘Copycat bills’ are a tradition that has been a hallmark of the antiabortion movement for decades

Caroline Kitchener
October 19, 2021

Less than 48 hours after Texas’s abortion law went into effect, banning almost all abortions, West Virginia state delegate Josh Holstein was reminded of the promise that got him elected in 2020.

Holstein ran as a “100 percent pro-life” Republican alternative to the two-term Democratic incumbent. He would pursue a “heartbeat bill” that would ban abortion once cardiac activity is detected, around six weeks of pregnancy. On Sept. 2, the day after Texas became the first state to successfully implement a six-week ban without court interference, a West Virginia resident called Holstein and other state delegates to task in a private post on his Facebook page. He wanted to know: Can we do the same thing in West Virginia?


Missouri – The last clinic

There were once 30 clinics performing abortions in Missouri. Now there’s just one. It’s on the front line of a battle to defend a woman’s right to choose.

By US correspondent Kathryn Diss
Foreign Correspondent
Published 4 Aug 2021

Colleen McNicholas is always watching her back. The location of her family home is protected. The perimeter is guarded with security cameras and alarm systems. Her child’s identity is kept secret. As she drives to work, she checks her rear-view mirror to make sure no-one is following. She never takes the same route two days in a row.

It’s not the typical routine for a doctor travelling to their surgery. But in the conservative mid-west state of Missouri, Dr McNicholas’s line of work makes her and her family a target for extremism. She’s a doctor at the state’s last abortion clinic, the only centre still providing safe and legal abortions for a population of 1.1 million women. If the powerful anti-abortion lobby gets its way, it too could soon be shut down.