As Republican-led states impose new restrictions on abortion, many women in Missouri seeking one have crossed state lines into Kansas or illinois to obtain one; a Missouri lawmaker wants to change that.
State Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman (R-American Taliban) introduced a new provision that would allow private citizens to sue anyone who helps a Missouri resident obtain an abortion out of state.
“If your neighboring state doesn’t have pro-life protections, it minimizes the ability to protect the unborn in your state,” said Coleman.WaPo:
Since Planned Parenthood opened its clinic on the Missouri-Illinois border in October 2019, 10,644 Missouri residents have received abortion care at the clinic, according to Planned Parenthood. By early 2021, the last remaining clinic in Missouri was typically providing between 10 and 20 abortions per month, according to preliminary data from the Missouri Department of Health.
Coleman said she hopes her amendment will thwart efforts by Missourians to cross state lines for abortions. The measure would target anyone even tangentially involved in an abortion performed on a Missouri resident, including the hotline staffers who make the appointments, the marketing representatives who advertise out-of-state clinics, and the Illinois and Kansas-based doctors who handle the procedure. Her amendment also would make it illegal to manufacture, transport, possess or distribute abortion pills in Missouri.
Missouri has ended most surgical abortions in the state through stringent regulations. The state has only one clinic, in St. Louis, that provides surgical abortions. A number of women travel to Kansas or Illinois instead. Missouri law already includes a ban on abortion after eight weeks, but the state cannot enforce it while a legal challenge to the restriction makes its way through federal court. The ban, if it ever goes into effect, would be among the toughest abortion limits in the nation.
Coleman rejects arguments that her law is unconstitutional and feels emboldened by Texas’ anti-choice law and the fact SCOTUS may actually overturn the landmark case, Roe v. Wade this year.