Are You There, Missouri Legislature? It’s Me, AngryBlackLady.

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My Body. My Rules.

Are You There, Missouri Legislature? It’s Me, AngryBlackLady.

Imani Gandy

You seem to be introducing a truly absurd number of bills dedicated to reducing access to safe abortion care, and it just seems so unreasonable that I thought maybe you’re lashing out because you're going through some "stuff" right now, and no one has bothered to ask how you feel.

Dear Missouri State Legislature:

So hey—I just wanted to check in with you to make sure you’re OK. You seem to be introducing a truly absurd number of bills dedicated to reducing access to safe abortion care, and it just seems so unreasonable that I thought maybe you’re lashing out because you’re going through some “stuff” right now, and no one has bothered to ask how you feel.

So are you feeling alright? It’s flu season after all, and there’s a measles outbreak and everything.

Are you drinking enough water? Eating your vegetables? Getting a good solid eight hours of sleep a night?

I ask because it seems to me that there’s a lot of stuff going on in Missouri that you might want to look into. Stuff more important than regulating the ever-loving crap out of the last remaining clinic performing abortion services for women in your state.

Last year, you launched an all-out war on the Planned Parenthood in St. Louis, to the tune of 31 bills aimed at restricting reproductive health care. (I wrote an article about it. Did you read it? No? You should. It’s pretty good.)

This year, it seems like you’re trying to outpace yourself. Seventeen bills over the last two months? I don’t know—seems like overkill to me. Especially because so far, most of the bills are exactly the same as the ones you introduced but couldn’t get passed last year.

As early as last December, you’d already pre-filed a bill that would require consent from the father of a fetus before a woman can get an abortion (HB 131)—the same one that failed in last year’s session.

You’ve introduced three different bills requiring that both parents be notified before a minor can get an abortion (HB 774, HB 814, and HB 99). A similar bill failed last year.

You’ve introduced four bills (HB 427SB 306, HB 610, and HB 151) that restrict or eliminate public funding for abortion providers in Missouri. (You introduced similar bills in 2014 and none of them passed—not this one or this one or this one.) Four bills to strip one clinic of funding? Really?

Just this week, one of your legislative committees approved a bill (HB 124) ordering abortion providers to force women to watch a video containing state-mandated propaganda under the guise of “informed consent,” even though there’s already a law requiring doctors to verbally explain that propaganda to pregnant women and to give them printed materials. But just in case women still don’t get it, you want to make them watch a video. Because you’re just trying to show how much you care, right?

There’s even a bill requiring that same printed propaganda to be provided, either in person or by mail, to women who are referred out-of-state for an abortion (SB 302), which is probably going to be most of them given that there’s only one clinic left in Missouri.

And let’s not forget the various bills (SB 33, HB 427, and HB 190) specifically requiring abortion clinic inspections, despite the fact that current law already mandates inspections of health-care facilities, which includes abortion clinics.

Oh, and just for funsies, you decided to start introducing Frankenbills—bills that contain pieces of other bills that you’ve already introducedHB 427, for example, is simply an HB 190 head grafted onto last year’s HB 1353 body. And now it’s lumbering around the House Committee on Children and Families, grunting and knocking over trash cans. Is that the kind of bill you want near your children or family? I should think not.

And that’s not even all of them! There’s a sex-selective and genetic anomaly abortion ban (HB 439), and a bill permitting doctors to refuse health-care services that are against their religion (HB 432), and really—who can even keep track of them all? It’s exhausting.

Well, I can, actually. That’s what Rewire’s database is for. And that’s how I know that since 2013, you’ve introduced more than 60 anti-choice bills. MORE THAN 60. There’s only one clinic in Missouri, ferchrissakes! Doesn’t that seem a bit excessive to you?

And all these bills you keep introducing? They’re not about women’s health. Not really. They’re about shaming women, infantilizing them, and making it impossible for them to have access to safe abortion care.

Considering that you have bigger things to worry about, Missouri, it’s a little weird that you’re so obsessed with the contents of people’s uteri.

For example, what are y’all doing about Medicaid expansion? All of your neighboring states—Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, and Kentucky—have expanded Medicaid. So what are you waiting for?

Just this week, a couple hundred people packed into the state capitol to voice their support for Medicaid expansion. Give the people what they want, Missouri. They want better access to medical services for all Missouri residents. Not an onslaught of legislation designed to regulate this poor little abortion clinic out of existence and keep women from having the right to decide what they want to do with their own bodies.

Just some food for thought.

Sincerely,

Imani aka AngryBlackLady

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