On Wednesday, May 15, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson called on state senators to take action on a bill to ban abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy, the latest GOP-dominated state emboldened by the possibility that a more conservative Supreme Court could overturn its landmark ruling legalizing the procedure.
Photo: AP Photo (Charlie Riedel, File)

The clearly not-so-great-state of Alabama just enacted the most extreme abortion ban since abortion was made legal by Roe v. Wade some 46 years ago. Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, signed the bill that could punish doctors who perform abortions with life in prison.

Twenty-five white men (and Kay—surely among the 53 percent of white women who voted for Donald Trump) stood firm in passing a law so extreme that even Pat Robertson said it “has gone too far.”

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The Alabama law adversely impacts women of color, who already bear the brunt of lack of access to reproductive healthcare, especially in rural Alabama. And, as noted by Planned Parenthood, Alabama already has the highest rates of cervical cancer deaths in the country, where black women in the state are twice as likely to die of cervical cancer than white women. Also, black women in Alabama die from pregnancy and childbirth more than four times the rate of white women.

On the (shit) heels of that move, the Missouri upper house just passed a bill early Thursday that prohibits abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy—in fact, on the very same day in fact that the Alabama abortion ban became law.

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Dubiously named the “Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act,” the bill, HB 126, bans all abortions after a heartbeat is detected. It, like the Alabama law, does not allow a woman to terminate a pregnancy in the case of rape or incest.

CNN reports that the bill passed the Republican-controlled Senate 24-10 and will need one more vote before it goes before Republican governor Mike Parson, who in a press conference on Wednesday urged the legislature to get the thing done by 6 pm Friday.

Parson proudly crowed that the law would make Missouri “one of the strongest pro-life states” in the United States.

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“I made a promise to all Missourians that I would continue advocating and promoting a culture of life here in Missouri,” Parson said at the news conference.

There has been an avalanche of criticism against the Alabama law on social media and otherwise, with noted people such as Ava DuVernay and others voicing their outrage on social media and vowing to fight.

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Dr. Leana Wen, President of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said that Gov. Parson should be ashamed of “riding the disgraceful coattails of the 25 white men in Alabama” (never a good portent for black women—my note) who passed this draconian, extreme law, and called on women to “rise up” against what is nothing short of a concerted attack.

“Missouri Gov. Parson should be ashamed of riding the disgraceful coat tails of 25 white men in Alabama who just voted to ban safe, legal abortion. Following in their footsteps and those of politicians in Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, and Mississippi will be disastrous for the patients Planned Parenthood serves and for all women across the country,” Wen said in a statement obtained by The Root. “Women: it’s time to rise up. Politicians have no place in our health care decisions. Every vote to ban abortion is a vote against us. We are counting and we will hold you accountable.”

She added: “This is a deliberate attempt to bring a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, and to end the right to access safe, legal abortion in this country.”

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M’Evie Mead, Director, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Missouri, also had some very strong words against the pending legislation, noting that Parson had not too much to say about a syphilis outbreak in the show-me-oppression state:

“Parson is willfully ignoring the syphilis outbreak and the rising maternal mortality rate happening on his watch,” Mead said. “Shame on him for suggesting the government should have a say in when and whether someone becomes a parent. Missourians will respond—we will mobilize and raise our voices until politicians start listening. We will respond—in our communities and at the ballot box. This attack on health care and freedom will not go unanswered.”

At this point, reproductive rights activists are vowing to challenge these “fetal heartbeat laws” in court, but it’s clear that a showdown over the wombs of women in America is coming to pass soon.