Column: The new abortion bill in Missouri will do more harm than good

The sweeping abortion bill passed in the House would make most abortions illegal, and the remaining legal abortions would be almost impossible to obtain.

Madi Baughman is a sophomore journalism major at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about political and civil rights issues for The Maneater.

Abortion access has been somewhat limited in Missouri for a while, but soon it might be a whole lot harder to get one than it already is due to House Bill 126, an anti-abortion bill that’s been passed in the Missouri State House, which is now awaiting judgement in the Senate.

For those who don’t know, the bill would ban abortions for cases where a fetal heartbeat can be detected — which is usually about six to seven weeks into a pregnancy. However, most pregnancy symptoms start to kick in at about four weeks. For a lot of pregnancies, this gives only a two to three-week window to be able to get an abortion in Missouri, especially since the only Planned Parenthood clinic that can provide abortions in the state is located in St. Louis.

What’s even more damning is the fact that an amendment was added to the bill requiring both parents be notified if a minor seeks an abortion. There are provisions to get by this if one parent counts as an exception — say one parent is a sex offender or found guilty of child abuse — but it still makes it much harder to obtain an abortion. This could have severe consequences, especially in the future of a teenager, many of whom are too young and not prepared emotionally or financially to raise a child.

As if that wasn’t enough, the bill has tacked on another amendment that includes the provision that would make abortion completely illegal in Missouri if the U.S. Supreme Court were to strike down Roe v. Wade. Simply “going to another state” to get an abortion isn’t a viable answer for a lot of people, either — transportation costs and time may simply be too much. A lot of Midwestern states already have strict laws relating to abortion. Four states bordering Missouri (Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas) currently have mandated counseling rules before one can get an abortion, and five have gestational limits (Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas). This would only get worse if Roe v. Wade gets overturned.

Around 60 percent of all abortion patients are in their twenties, an age where people are often struggling to finish school, find a solid job and get themselves on their feet financially. An abortion typically costs around $500, which is not funded at all by people’s tax money. For a lot of people, that’s not money they just have laying around on hand. If the person has to travel, they also face possible transportation costs added on to that. Since a lot of the people who get abortions are not financially or mentally able to handle a child, it’s only putting them in a tougher situation.

On top of all of this, it should be their choice what they do with their body — not the government’s decision. Passing this bill would be a huge step back when it comes to women’s rights and the pro-choice movement and it’s wrong for Missouri.

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