SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Missouri has quickly reacted to the June 24 Supreme Court overturning of Roe v. Wade. From state officials promptly issuing proclamations, Greene County politicians issuing statements and plans for what will come next and local organizations organizing evening protests.
How did Missouri Legislature respond to the SCOTUS ruling?
Shortly after the Supreme Court issued the ruling, both Missouri Governor Mike Parson and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt signed proclamations intending to end abortions in the state. Schmitt signed an AG opinion that would enact a portion of Missouri House Bill 126 passed in 2019 that stated if a fetal heartbeat is detected it is illegal for a physician to perform an abortion except in cases of a medical emergency.
House Bill 126 also requires that one parent or guardian of a minor seeking an abortion has signed written consent to the procedure, and the other parent or guardian has been informed. The bill makes no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. Schmitt said this proclamation signing made Missouri the first state in the country to end abortion.
Governor Parson also signed the “Right to Life of the Unborn Child Act” into law. The act states, “Any person who knowingly performs or induces an abortion of an unborn child in violation of this subsection shall be guilty of a class B felony,” as well as potentially suspending or revoking that person’s medical license.
“Thanks to decades of conservative leaders, Missouri has become one of the most pro-life states in the nation, and our administration has always fought for the life of every unborn child,” Parson stated on Friday. “Today, our efforts have produced what generations of Missourians have worked and prayed for: Today, we have won our fight to protect innocent life.”
What do Greene County officials think of the ruling?
Missouri State Representative Betsy Fogle, a Democrat representing Greene County, said the Supreme Court decision and Missouri proclamations made her “terrified” for everyone in Missouri.
“One of the reasons I ran for office and why I serve my community is to make sure rights are not repealed, and that’s exactly what we saw this morning,” Fogle said to OzarksFirst.
Missouri State Representative Bill Owen, a Republican representing Greene County, said the decisions were ones that those who are anti-abortion have been waiting for.
“A lot of us on the side of life have hoped to see a day where this would happen,” Owen said to OzarksFirst. “It’s kind of like it’s become a states rights issue.”
Congressman Billy Long, who represents Missouri’s 7th District which includes Springfield, said in a press release the Supreme Court decision corrected “one of the worst decisions in Supreme Court history.”
“Roe v. Wade has no basis in Constitutional law, and forced the states to accept the barbaric practice of abortion,” Long said. “I’ve never understand how a civilized society could possibly condone the killing of an innocent child in their mother’s womb. This is simply unconscionable to me and was for 49 years.”
What do Springfield residents think of the ruling?
One local, Susan Mattheis, said the SCOTUS overturning of Roe v. Wade gave her a sense of loss of control.
“It’s going to hurt the poor, it’s going to hurt under-resourced people and it’s going to negatively impact both men and women and children,” Mattheis said.
Another Springfield local said they supported the SCOTUS overturning Roe v. Wade.
“Murder is murder is murder is murder,” Jack said. “You don’t have a choice to take someone’s life. That’s not up to you. That is up to God.”
“I think it’s important for women because some women can’t support a child,” another who identified themselves as K said. “If they can’t support a child, putting them in the system would also hurt them because they know the child is out there and they can’t even see them.”
What events are planned in Springfield?
Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri announced an event to be held in Park Central Square beginning at 6 p.m. tonight, June 24, as part of nationwide Planned Parenthood events under the banner “Bans Off Our Bodies.”
The Party for Socialism and Liberation of Springfield, MO, also announced a protest to be held at 6:30 p.m. at Park Central Square. As of 3:30 p.m. on Friday, over 100 on Facebook had marked they would be attending in the six hours since it was posted.
The march was planned to travel from the Square to the federal courthouse. OzarksFirst broadcast coverage of the protests live.