WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) rejected the license application of the only abortion provider in the state. Judge Michael F. Stelzer of the Missouri Circuit Court in St. Louis then ruled that his preliminary injunction to allow the clinic to continue to provide abortions remains in place until he issues a written order outlining next steps. The judge’s decision prevents Missouri from becoming the first state in America without access to a clinic providing abortion care since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, at least for the moment.
Gov. Mike Parson (R) and the DHSS are using the regulatory process as a weapon to prevent access to abortion care. Missouri would have its residents return to the days when abortion was outlawed, when women seeking abortions had to risk a loss of fertility or their life when trying to end an unwanted pregnancy. These dangers are especially prevalent for people in vulnerable populations, such as women living in poverty and women of color, who may not have the resources necessary to travel out-of-state to access abortion care. Gov. Parson and the DHSS did not do this to protect women’s health — they did this to take control of women’s bodies and deny them their constitutional rights.
The National Organization for Women (NOW) is unequivocal in its assertion that women have the right to safe, legal, affordable and accessible abortion care, and we condemn, in the strongest terms Missouri’s attempt to deny its residents that right.