Abortion

A doctor walks into the operating room in a screenshot from "Abortion: The Stories Women Tell."
provided by HBO

After the Missouri legislature passed a law in 2014 requiring women to wait 72 hours before terminating a pregnancy, a team of filmmakers started collecting their stories.

They interviewed dozens of women over several months, many of whom had crossed the Mississippi River to go to a clinic in Illinois, where the rules governing abortions are more relaxed.

Their stories appear in Abortion: Stories Women Tellwhich opens in limited theaters Friday and will air later on HBO.

Planned Parenthood supporters rally in 2015 outside the agency's clinic in St. Louis after a mass shooting at a clinic in Colorado Springs.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Three Democrats in the Missouri legislature plan to file bills repealing two of the state’s laws restricting abortion facilities, following a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that threw out similar measures in Texas.

supremecourt.gov

Some of Missouri’s restrictive laws governing abortion clinics will likely face a legal challenge as a result of today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision knocking down similar restrictions in Texas.

But abortion-rights supporters and opponents in Missouri agree that it’s “too soon to tell’’ the specific effects of the high court’s 5-3 ruling on the Show-Me state, which long has had some of the nation’s strictest abortion laws.

Jason Rosenbaum|St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House has passed a proposed constitutional amendment that would grant so-called "personhood" status to unborn fetuses at every stage of development.

House Joint Resolution 98, if added to the state constitution, would extend the rights of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" to the unborn.  It's sponsored by representative Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove.

The Missouri Capitol Building at dusk
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Several high priority bills moved forward as lawmakers work to push their agendas over the last remaining hurdles before Friday the 13th arrives — which this year happens to be the final day of the 2016 legislative session.

Here's a quick rundown of what got accomplished Tuesday.

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards greets phone-bank volunteer Maxine Clark at Hillary Clinton's St. Louis campaign headquarters Sun. Mar. 13, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

The president of Planned Parenthood says the effort in the Missouri legislature to bar abortion providers from receiving any funds from Medicaid is a waste of taxpayers’ money.

Under existing law, state and federal funds can only cover abortions in the case of rape, incest or when it’s necessary to save a woman’s life.

David Sater
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

A state Senate Committee is weighing more restrictions to abortion services in Missouri. 

Testimony was heard today on a bill (SB802) that would prohibit abortions solely on the basis of prenatal screenings for Down syndrome.

St. Louis had a large contingent at the March for Life in D.C.
Jim Howard | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Despite the huge snowstorm threat in Washington, D.C., at least 2,000 Missouri opponents of abortion are expected to head to the nation’s capital to participate in Friday’s annual March for Life.

“Our buses are on their way,’’ said Maggie Bick, one of the coordinators for Missouri Right to Life’s annual bus caravan. A brief prayer service for the St. Louis area travelers was held Thursday morning at the Old Cathedral by St. Louis’ riverfront.

s_falkow | Flickr

The past year was a landmark one for many legal issues—both nationally and locally. On Thursday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” our monthly Legal Roundtable convened to discuss the legal decisions (or lack thereof) which had the most impact on 2015. They also looked ahead to 2016.

Joining the show:

On Thursday’s “St. Louis on the Air” the President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri had one thing to say about her clinics’ services going forward after a gunman opened fire on a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs on Nov. 27:

"We're going to be here every single day,” said Mary Kogut.  “We're going to continue to have our doors open.”

Planned Parenthood supporters rally in 2015 outside the agency's clinic in St. Louis after a mass shooting at a clinic in Colorado Springs.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

More than a hundred people gathered in a crowd of pink signs outside Missouri’s only active abortion clinic Saturday in midtown St. Louis. Abortion services in Columbia are in limbo.

Standing in a large circle inside a gated parking lot on the corner of Boyle Avenue and Forest Park Avenue, the group of 120 – 150 held a moment of silence to reflect on the Black Friday shooting that left three dead and nine injured at Colorado Springs’ Planned Parenthood clinic.

stock photo
Kurhan | sxc.hu

Legislative leaders and anti-abortion activists are making it clear that abortion regulations – and Planned Parenthood -- are likely to be among the top issues for many Missouri lawmakers when they return to the state Capitol in a few weeks.

Meanwhile, area allies of Planned Parenthood say they’re fighting back – beginning with a rally planned for Saturday outside its midtown St. Louis clinic.

A colony of embryonic stem cells, from the H9 cell line. The cells in the background are mouse fibroblast cells. Only the colony in the center are human embryonic stem cells.
Ryddragyn | English Wikipedia -

Nine years after Missouri voters approved protections for embryonic stem cell research, the issue has re-emerged as a hot topic in Jefferson City and among next year’s candidates.

A key factor: Missouri Right to Life – a longstanding opponent of embryonic stem-cell research – is linking the issue to its opposition to Planned Parenthood, which operates Missouri’s only abortion clinics.

(Via Flickr/Rosemary)

The University of Missouri’s nursing school in Columbia has signed agreements with two Planned Parenthood clinics to allow nursing students to obtain some of their training in women’s health services.

A university spokesman said the agreements are not contracts, but will enable three students who requested it to perform their clinical training at Planned Parenthood.

Attorney General Chris Koster, left, and Missouri Sen. Tom Dempsey have announced separate investigations of Planned Parenthood operations in the state.
official photos

Underscoring the political power of the abortion issue in Missouri, Attorney General Chris Koster’s announcement that he has “opened an investigation into whether Planned Parenthood clinics in Missouri have violated state law” touched off a series of actions on both sides.

Patients entering the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis are often greeted by a line of protesters.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio | File Photo

The St. Louis area Planned Parenthood, which operates Missouri’s only abortion clinic, says its facility isn’t affected by allegations that Planned Parenthood nationally may have sold organs and other tissue from aborted fetuses for profit.

Abortion-related tissue may be donated for research purposes, with the patient's permission, but it is illegal to sell the material for profit.

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin
Official photo

Two committees of the Republican-led House of Representatives will look into whether a clip of video shows an official with Planned Parenthood discussing the sale of human organs from aborted fetuses.

Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, is one of several lawmakers asking both the House Judiciary Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee to investigate allegations made by an anti-abortion group.

For Loretto Wagner, the effort to end abortion was more than a cause. It was her life.

Wagner, one of the major figures in Missouri’s early anti-abortion movement, died late Wednesday at the age of 81.

She was the mother of Ray Wagner, an executive at Enterprise Holdings, and the mother-in-law of U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, a Republican from Ballwin.

A new report shows Missouri's unintended pregnancy rate has dropped. Some researchers say it could be due to increased usage of long-lasting contraceptives like IUDs.
(Via Wikimedia Commons/Victor byckttor)

A new study released Monday shows Missouri saw a significant decrease in unintended pregnancies in recently measured years.

St. Louis had a large contingent at the March for Life in D.C.
Jim Howard | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

The Missouri General Assembly may be taking a break from handling major anti-abortion legislation, but that’s not necessarily true in Washington – and that could have an impact on Missouri’s 2018 contest for the U.S. Senate.

The drama in the U.S. House centered on its decision to drop plans to vote Thursday on an abortion ban after 20 weeks, as thousands of abortion opponents participated in the annual March for Life to mark the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing most abortions.

Students at Saint Raphael the Archangel School prepare to leave Wednesday for the March for Life in Washington, D.C.
Courtesy Saint Raphael, via Twitter

The St. Louis Archdiocese is sending a record number of young people to Thursday's annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., since it first began its coordinated "Generation Life" pilgrimage to the event three years ago.

Mary Kogut
Provided by Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri

The region’s Planned Parenthood affiliate, which operates Missouri’s only abortion clinic, has announced a new chief executive to replace long-time president Paula Gianino, who is retiring.

Mary Kogut, currently vice president of patient services, will take over on Jan. 8 as the new president and CEO for Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.

Kogut has been with the agency for 34 years. She was chosen after a year-long search, said Shanti Parikh, the agency’s board chairman.

Adrian Clark | Flickr

For the past eight years, Missouri has had a 24-hour wait rule for abortions: Women seeking to end a pregnancy must visit a clinic for an initial health consultation before waiting 24 hours to have the procedure.

On Friday, a new state law goes into effect that triples the wait time. The law includes no exemptions for rape or incest, which is one reason Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, vetoed it. But the state legislature last month overrode his veto.

Paula Gianino is president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.
Provided

   A new Missouri state law requiring women to wait 72 hours to have an abortion after their initial consultation is set to take effect Friday, and the state’s only abortion provider says it will not immediately appeal the measure in court.

President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, Paula Gianino, said attorneys for their national organization did not think an appeal would be successful in state or federal court.

James Cridland via Flickr

Legal questions surrounding Michael Brown’s death and events in Ferguson again dominated the conversation among our legal roundtable.

Justice Department Investigations

The Justice Department has three roles in Ferguson, said William Freivogel, director of the school of journalism at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. First: A criminal investigation, independent of the state’s investigation.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

In what’s becoming something of a post-veto session tradition, Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum to discuss the impact of the General Assembly's annual event.

  The St. Charles Republican leads the 23-member Republican caucus in the Missouri Senate. And this past week, his chamber participated in votes to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s vetoes of 10 standalone bills and 47 line-item vetoes of spending items in the current budget.

(via Flickr/Jennifer Boriss)

(Updated 12:15 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 11)

The Missouri General Assembly has made the state the third in the country to require a 72-hour waiting period before a woman can obtain an abortion, after the state Senate killed off a filibuster.

The Senate voted 23-7 – along party lines -- to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of the bill, but only after deploying a procedural action that it hadn’t used in seven years to end a Democratic filibuster that had gone on for about two hours.

Parth Shah/St. Louis Public Radio

Let’s not mince any words: If he's elected later this year, neither St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley nor Councilman Steve Stenger will have any power to alter Missouri’s abortion policies. 

The county executive essentially has no authority to enact or repeal restrictions on abortion – the state does. And it’s highly unlikely that Stenger's or Dooley’s power of persuasion will change the course of a Missouri legislature overwhelmingly opposed to abortion rights.

Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

This story was updated following St. Louis on the Air.

Former U.S. Rep. Todd Akin is back, and he’s not sorry.

Two years after losing a contest for U.S. Senate and igniting a “war on women” debate with a comment about rape, Akin has written a book that offers behind-the-scenes details about how he, his campaign and his family coped.

In an August 2012 interview with Charles Jaco on KTVI (Channel 2), Akin was asked about abortion and rape. Akin, who is staunchly anti-abortion, said that a pregnancy from rape “is really rare.”

/ File photo

(Updated 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 2)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed a bill that would have tripled the state’s waiting period for an abortion to 72 hours, saying it reflected  “a callous disregard for women who find themselves in horrific circumstances.”

The governor noted in Wednesday’s veto message that the bill, HB 1307, had no exceptions for rape or incest.

“This extreme and disrespectful measure would unnecessarily prolong the suffering of rape and incest victims and jeopardize the health and wellbeing of women,” Nixon said Wednesday.

Pages