Women’s Rights activists in Illinois are striking back.Just in case there wasn’t enough going on in Missouri last month with all the media craziness and paramilitary police madness, legislators there passed what is almost the strictest anti-abortion legislation in the US. Now activists and women’s rights groups in Illinois are actively campaigning to help Missouri women who need their help.
As a result of a long-running campaign by the Missouri legislature there is now only one clinic in Missouri that terminates pregnancies and (as we know) women who go there are subject to a 72 hour waiting period after their first consultation. Furthermore, doctors are obliged to describe the dangers of the procedure and then offer the women the chance to listen to the foetal heart beat in the hope that they will change their mind about having the procedure.
Governor Nixon had described the proposal as “extreme” and “disrespectful to women” but the Missouri legislators disagreed and refused to allow exceptions even in the case of rape and incest.
Now only South Dakota has stricter abortion laws than Missouri. Even Utah’s abortion laws aren’t as draconian.
However one great thing about Missouri is that it is really close to Illinois, and women’s rights groups plan to use that to their advantage.
The Hope Clinic for Women in Granite City, Illinois is only 15 minutes drive from St Louis. And under more liberal laws in this state, there is no waiting period for women older than 18 years of age.
“We are prepared to handle women from Missouri that come over the river from Missouri because of the restrictions there,” Says Dr Erin King who manages the clinic. “We are able to accommodate some extra volume … if it becomes a lot higher than, yes, absolutely we would hire (more) people.” That would include both clinical staff and counselors, King said.
Even Kansas has more liberal legislation regarding terminations. The South Wind Women’s Center there is also gearing up to help Missouri women who will make the two hour drive.
“We know that this law is coming,” says the director of the South Wind Center, and adds that “We certainly expect that this law is going to be a hardship for women and it’s clear that this law is meant to do nothing but block access when it comes to abortion care.”
Illinois, Iowa and Tennessee all border Missouri and none of these states require a waiting period for adult women. Which means that clinics here like the Emma Goldman Clinic in Iowa are now in the frontline of the battle of American women’s rights.
Because it seems that in Missouri the life of a foetus is taken far more seriously than the life of a teenager.