Law Contains New Obstacles for Women in Missouri
Statement by Paula Gianino, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri
Today, Missouri added yet one more law restricting abortion to the more than 30 restrictions already on the books. Abortion is already the most highly regulated medical procedure in Missouri; this law, which goes into effect on August 28, adds significant new burdens and obstacles to women seeking abortion care in Missouri.
The 2010 Abortion Restriction Law (SB793), which goes into effect at the end of August, establishes new and difficult restrictions on access to abortion and forces women to receive state-mandated materials which contain ideological messages aimed at causing additional emotional distress—statements not widely agreed-upon by physicians, and not based upon science or medicine. It also requires abortion providers to display a statement that promises state-funded assistance to women if they carry the pregnancy to term, despite the fact that Missouri’s budget constraints have forced the state to cut many of the promised services and there will likely be even more cuts next year.
SB793 includes unnecessary, burdensome and duplicative changes to the informed consent process that is already in place that requires women to wait an additional twenty four hours after consent. The new law requires women to undergo the informed consent process “in the physical presence” of a qualified professional, a restriction that will add significant burdens to women who must travel hundreds of miles to receive care in Missouri, due to the lack of abortion providers in most parts of the state.
As a trusted provider of reproductive health care, Planned Parenthood believes that every woman should have evenhanded and unbiased information so she can protect her health and make the best decision for her circumstances. A woman needs—and Missouri women get—information about the risks involved with, and alternatives to, abortion but the information should not be written to coerce, shame or pressure the woman into making a decision that is not right for her.
Planned Parenthood urges the Missouri legislature to focus on common-sense “Prevention-First” solutions to the problems facing Missouri women and families and to end the constant efforts to force more government intrusion into personal and private reproductive health care decisions.
The passage—and signing—of the Expedited Partner Therapy and HPV education bill (HB1375) is an excellent example of how our elected officials can advance policies that will help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections and improve the health and lives of all Missourians. Planned Parenthood applauds the legislature and the Governor for passing this common-sense law.