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Missouri Democrats call for special session clarifying legality of birth control, abortion rights

Missouri Democrats sue over Lt. Gov. appointment
Posted at 11:10 AM, Jul 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-13 13:03:36-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri Democratic leaders called on Governor Mike Parson Monday morning to hold a special session "to ensure that birth control remains legal" and to ensure that medical providers have the right to perform an abortion on those with life-threatening pregnancies in the state.

A letter addressed to Parson stated that there was a need for clarity on the legality of certain contraceptives and on abortions for those with ectopic pregnancies, which are pregnancies where the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, guaranteeing the fetus cannot survive and potentially damaging organs if the fetus cannot grow.

The request for the special session comes after a trigger law under House Bill 126 went into effect after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, banning nearly all abortions in Missouri.

The letter was signed by Rep. Crystal Quade, Missouri House minority leader, and Rep. John Rizzo, Senate minority leader.

The leaders have formally requested an extraordinary session of the Missouri General Assembly to pass narrowly tailored legislation on the matter.

In the letter, the Missouri Democrats said that "medical providers and legal experts across Missouri have expressed concern and confusion" regarding the law's ambiguity.

At the end of June, Saint Luke's Health System announced it would no longer provide emergency contraceptives to patients due to its interpretation of the trigger law. Less than 24 hours later, Saint Luke's reversed the decision after the KSHB 41 News I-Team shared a statement with the health system from Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt's press secretary, clarifying that "Missouri law does not prohibit the use or provision of Plan B, or contraception."

The letter addressed to Parson said that statements and social media posts from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and from Parson and Schmitt's offices have highlighted the ambiguity surrounding the law, and should receive a response from the state government.

"Any public statements or social media posts from your office or others do not carry the force of law," the Democratic leaders said.