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MO Women To Lawmakers: Stop Playing Politics With Our Health

PHOTO: Several women's organizations, including Planned Parenthood Advocates, the National Council of Jewish Women, NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri and ACLU Missouri will rally at the Capitol on Tuesday to protest what they call attacks on women's rights. Photo credit: R. Smith.
PHOTO: Several women's organizations, including Planned Parenthood Advocates, the National Council of Jewish Women, NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri and ACLU Missouri will rally at the Capitol on Tuesday to protest what they call attacks on women's rights. Photo credit: R. Smith.
April 8, 2014

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - They're angry and they're not going to be quiet about it. That's why several women's organizations plan to rally today, to let lawmakers know how they feel about what is happening with women's health at the Capitol.

Ryann Summerford, statewide manager of government affairs, Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri, said more than 30 bills have been filed this session that would restrict women's access to health care, including legislation that would triple the mandatory waiting period for an abortion.

"We're going to be going back in time, basically, with women's rights," Summerford said. "I think that women's health matters; I think that the women's vote matters."

Legislation introduced this year also would require more inspections and financial documentation for the one remaining abortion clinic in the state; other measures would increase criminal penalties.

Political analysts have attributed the proliferation of anti-abortion bills this session to election-year ambitions, which Summerford said should strike a nerve with all Missourians.

"There are husbands and brothers and fathers and sons who should be equally as outraged by these attacks on women's health," she said.

Summerford added that while the legislature has introduced 32 measures related to women's health during this session, it has yet to act on pressing issues that would increase access to health care, such as Medicaid expansion.

The rally is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on the east side of the Capitol.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MO