COLUMN: Now is not the time for a Missouri abortion ban

Missouri has the chance to move forward in a positive social direction. Will it make the right move?

Sofi Zeman is a first year journalism major at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about government and politics for The Maneater.

In Missouri, getting an abortion is anything but easy. As of recently, all that remains in the entire state is one Planned Parenthood clinic, which is located in St. Louis. Though this city is home to hundreds of thousands, it by no means constitutes the entire state population. Today, residents in west Missouri have to travel hundreds of miles to have a basic healthcare need met. In light of newly introduced legislation, there’s a chance that this process will become increasingly more difficult in the near future.

Recently, an article in The Columbia Missourian detailed State Rep. Mike Noon’s (R-Ash Grove) submission of an anti-abortion bill to the State House. The proposed HB 1799, if passed, will deem a reproductive egg a human being upon fertilization. By innate human right, this would give any egg the full constitutional right of Due Process and, if terminated, would be viewed as a victim of homicide.

In a state that is traditionally labeled red, this topic has been a cause for controversy over the past several decades. As of the first of this year, even more barriers on abortion have been put in effect. In order to have an abortion in Missouri, one needs to first recieve state-mandated counseling, typically geared toward trying to convince the patient from having the abortion performed. Additionally, some insurance companies and public organizations refuse to assist in the funding of operations unless they are being performed in a situation of life endangerment. Also, minors are required to have parent or guardian consent to have an abortion, which is often cause for complication. In other words, it’s nearly impossible for both adults and minors in Missouri to successfully have an abortion on their own accord. To make an already strenuous process any more inconvenient, Rep. Moon’s legislation will prohibit any and all abortions performed in the state of Missouri in an attempt to repeal Roe v. Wade at the state level. There’s a chance that a successful repeal could encourage other, similarly minded states to follow the same path. The difficulty to have an abortion may pose the potential to spread across the nation.

Surprisingly enough, the ultimate goal of this bill is not even the worst part about it. The bill encourages Congress to interpret a State Powers Amendment, which would give the state the ability to repeal federal laws and regulations. This predicament has major issues of its own. Repealing this ground-breaking Supreme Court decision not only calls morality into question, but also sets Missouri apart from the rest of the U.S. in a way that demeans the status of constitutional law.

Additionally, Moon’s bill proposes removing a medical emergency as a reason for having an abortion. If passed, this would mean that many women would lose their lives over a child they never wished or were ready to have. While a woman should never have to justify her reasoning for having an abortion in the first place, a medical emergency is about as valid of a reason as it gets.

It’s been said before and sure to be said again: the government has no place in dictating what a woman does with her body. Some people aren’t ready to be parents. Frankly, some people shouldn’t be parents. Respecting abortion rights sets us on the track to ensure that when people do have children, they’re doing it for the right reason. Being pro-choice doesn’t mean that someone is against life; it’s a woman knowing when to choose herself over a life that she is not able to or prepared to live.

Missouri has a choice to make. Regardless of the ultimate decision, there will be a great deal of unhappy people in its aftermath. We are at a crossroad where our state government will have to decide what side of history it wants to be on. Hopefully, we can all look back on this in the future and not have to wonder if the wrong path was taken.

Edited by Bryce Kolk | bkolk@themaneater.com

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