In the final days of the legislative session, Missouri passed one of the most extreme bills in the country, following the lead of states like Mississippi, Kentucky, Ohio, Georgia, and Alabama.
House Bill 126, known as the “Heartbeat Bill,” would ban abortion as early as eight weeks — before many people even know they are pregnant. The Missouri Department of Social Services has warned this bill could cost the state $7 billion in lost federal Medicaid funds. It would also impose additional restrictions on minors who need access to abortion, as well as ban abortion later in pregnancy, even when there is a severe fetal diagnosis or a serious risk to the woman's health. The bill has no exceptions for rape or incest.
We recognize that this topic is difficult for some and that your feelings about reproductive health are strongly held. Efforts for reproductive rights and LGBTQ equality are intrinsically linked, and as LGBTQ equality is seeing progress, reproductive rights are a part of that.
Many of these clinics -- for example Planned Parenthood -- often serve as one of the few safe, competent, and affordable places to receive care for those living with HIV, on hormone replacement therapy, or in need of other forms of LGBTQ-related care. Bills that restrict abortion access often inadvertently restrict LGBTQ+ healthcare access, too.
At its core, the LGBTQ movement is founded in the value that we should be able to make decisions about our own bodies. From the beginnings of Stonewall, when the government passed laws requiring us to wear a minimum number of gendered clothing or risk being arrested; to anti-sodomy laws that criminalized same-sex relations even within the privacy of our own homes; to harmful, anti-transgender bathroom laws that restrict us from using restrooms based on things like chromosomes.
The decision to end a pregnancy is deeply personal and can be complex. A pregnant person makes that decision in consultation with their family, their doctor, and their faith — not politicians.
Missouri is already one of the most restrictive states when it comes to abortion, and HB 126 would make those restrictions even more extreme. We are beyond disappointed with elected officials trying to make Missouri the state that overturns Roe v. Wade at the Supreme Court.
As a supporter of LGBTQ equality, it is critical that we remember this: The 2003 Supreme Court decision, Lawrence v. Texas, which decriminalized same-sex relations between consenting adults, relied upon two of the most influential reproductive rights cases -- Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), emphasizing that attacks on either of our struggles cannot be separated.
Executive Director, PROMO
P.S. Please take a moment to call Governor Parson’s office and ask him to oppose HB 126. Look out for events happening in your area to organize against these measures, like the National Day of Action on Tuesday, May 21st. Please also consider a donation to an organization in Missouri that is fighting to ensure safe and affordable access to reproductive health, including access to abortions. Some of our suggestions include Planned Parenthood Advocates of Missouri, Gateway Women’s Access Fund, and ReproAction.