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MO Group Says Tough Abortion Restrictions Put Poor Women In Jeopardy

January 21, 2011

ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Recent headlines about a Pennsylvania abortion doctor charged in the death of a patient and newborns and for performing late-term abortions has people on both side of the abortion debate raising questions about safe access for low-income women and oversight of providers. One side of the abortion issue wants tougher restrictions, the other side says women need more options to be safe.

The Rev. Krista Taves with Faith Aloud says many of the restrictions in Missouri, and across the country, limit safe access for women living in poverty. She cites the Pennsyvania case as an example.

"When you look at the arrest of Dr. Gosnell, we're seeing what reproductive rights activists have been warning for years was happening: These harsh laws penalize mostly poor women who've become desperate for an abortion they can afford and who are vulnerable to those who would take advantage of their desperation."

Abortion opponents are pushing for more restrictions, claiming that keeps women safe and reduces the number of abortions. Abortion rights advocates say women need reproductive freedom despite the challenges and risks.

The Rev. Rebecca Turner with Faith Aloud says violence and rhetoric against abortion providers have driven good doctors out of the field, especially since the murder of Dr. George Tiller, all of which has given rise to unethical practices. She says on Saturday, the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, it's time for civil dialogue.

"We have to be willing to look at that and pull back from it and say 'Wait a minute, this isn't responsible.' We just have to monitor ourselves better and not allow our rhetoric to get to that level."

Across the nation, and in Missouri, events are being held through Monday to observe the landmark Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, that legalized abortion 38 years ago.

Heather Claybrook/Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - MO