Abortion | St. Louis Public Radio

Abortion

Rep. Diane Franklin, a Republican from Camdenton
File photo | Tim Bommel | Missouri House Communications

Placing more restrictions and limiting access to abortion in Missouri remains a high priority for Republican leaders in the Missouri General Assembly, although the issue has taken a bit of a back seat lately to getting right-to-work passed and other workplace and labor issue.

That may be about to change.

Planned Parenthood supporters march silently past the organization's Central West End clinic as anti-abortion activists pray the Rosary Feb. 11, 2017.
File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Charles County lawmaker seeks to reverse a new ordinance in neighboring St. Louis that bars employers and landlords from discriminating against women who are pregnant, use contraception or have had an abortion. 

House Bill 989 was filed late Tuesday by Rep. Phil Christofanelli, R-St. Peters. He said in a written statement that it's a direct response to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay signing of the so-called "sanctuary city" measure into law, which took effect last week.

Anti-abortion actvists stand on a street median as Planned Parenthood supporters march past the organization's Central West End clinic February 11, 2017.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Rallies for and against Planned Parenthood took place Saturday in St. Louis and across the country.

Anti-abortion groups coordinated events in cities nationwide to show their support for an effort in Congress that would block the organization from receiving any federal funding.

Abortion rights activists responded by arranging counter-protests.

Kadie Tannehill and Mary Kogut joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss the restrictions placed on abortion in Missouri and the impact some of those restrictions have on St. Louisans.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Even after the Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade legalized abortion at a federal level in 1973, states have since reserved the right to place regulations and restriction on the process — and Missouri has several such rules.

Teenagers and chaperones with the Archdiocese of St. Louis look out on the crowd marching against abortion January 27, 2017.
Provided | Archdiocese of St. Louis

Some 2,000 St. Louisans boarded busses to attend the March for Life in Washington D.C. last Friday. The anti-abortion march marked its 44th year this year. It was originally created in protest of the United States Supreme Court’s decision legalizing abortion in Roe v. Wade.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we heard from two local participants in the national march. Reagan Barklage is the western regional director of the Students for Life of America.

Teenagers and chaperones with the Archdiocese of St. Louis look out on the crowd marching against abortion January 27, 2017.
Provided | Archdiocese of St. Louis

In what what was one of The Archdiocese of St. Louis' largest groups yet, about 2,100 local teenagers and chaperones attended Friday’s anti-abortion march in Washington, D.C. 

Snow prevented the group from traveling to the March for Life last year; the annual event is scheduled near the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973.

Robin, 37, at her home in St. Louis.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

After three years and two rounds of in-vitro fertilization, things were finally looking up.   

Robin, a 37-year-old project manager who lives in St. Louis County, went in for a routine 21-week ultrasound with her husband this past November. The couple had no idea that something was wrong.  

Bill cosponsor Alderwoman Cara Spencer asks Tom Buckley, general counsel for the Archdioscese of St. Louis, to clarify his position.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen is considering a bill that would bar employers and landlords from discriminating against women who are pregnant, use contraception or have had an abortion.

If approved, the bill would add pregnancy and reproductive health decisions to the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance, alongside protections based on race, sex or disability. It defines reproductive health decisions as any that are related to the use of contraception, the initiation or termination of a pregnancy, and the use of a drug, device or medical service related to reproductive health.

During public testimony at a committee hearing Wednesday, an attorney for the Archdiocese of St. Louis threatened legal action if the bill is passed on the grounds that it violates religious freedom.

File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated with Wednesday's Senate hearing) Heartened by the November election, Missouri’s abortion opponents are considering a raft of bills – some old, some new – to expand the state’s restrictions on abortion-related matters and their enforcement.

The measures could heighten Missouri’s longstanding status as a key battleground when it comes to abortion rights.  A state Senate committee examined four of them Wednesday.

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

Planned Parenthood clinics in St. Louis are taking stock of the $700,000 hit they may absorb under a new state law and a shifting federal landscape.

Last year, the Missouri legislature used a budgetary measure to cut the women’s health provider from the state’s Medicaid program. The process takes several months and requires federal approval, so the rule has yet to take effect.

A plan by the Republican-controlled Congress to dismantle the Affordable Care Act also includes a measure that would strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood, according to remarks made by House Speaker Paul Ryan.

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.

File photo | 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.
File photo | Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

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.

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