Greitens Called a Special Session. So Missourians Did Too.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A coalition of the following groups gathered in the Capitol today for a People’s Special Session:

  • ACLU of Missouri
  • AFSCME Missouri
  • Capital Area Missouri NOW
  • Missouri State Women's Political Caucus
  • NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri
  • National Council of Jewish Women - St. Louis
  • Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri
  • Planned Parenthood Great Plains
  • Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region & Southwest Missouri
  • Progress Missouri
  • Reproaction
  • Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS)
  • Women's Voices Raised For Social Justice

More than 200 reproductive rights supporters gathered in the Capitol Rotunda with a clear message: Stop wasting tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars a day to promote an extreme agenda that will do more harm than good for Missourians.

Missourians deserve and demand improved access to health care, including safe, legal abortion. It’s time for our elected officials to stop playing politics with Missourians’ reproductive rights and start focusing on measures to improve Missourians’ health, like expanding Medicaid, providing access to quality health care, ensuring paid family leave and lowering the infant and maternal mortality rates in our state.

Rev. Molly Housh Gordon began the People’s Session by reminding lawmakers, “You are in our house. We did not send you here to take away women’s health care.” She called for an agenda that lives up to the motto of our state: “Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law.”

Elinor Simmons, a homecare worker with SEIU, testified about the importance of continuing the fight to ensure all citizens have access quality, affordable health care. She encouraged the crowd: “We have to keep fighting for what we deserve. We will win!”

Jeffrey Mittman of the ACLU of Missouri testified that his organization stands ready to challenge any unconstitutional legislation: “We must remember that the right to safe, legal abortion is a constitutional one.”

Rachel Goldberg, a Southwest Missouri resident and NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri supporter, began her testimony by sharing her experiences as a pregnant woman. She called out lawmakers for pushing burdensome laws that endanger women by restricting access to safe, legal abortion. “My life isn’t something you can gamble your political career on.”

Planned Parenthood organizer and patient Stacy Sherrod followed, sharing her experience as a patient: “When I had nowhere else to go, I knew I could count on Planned Parenthood for expert, trustworthy care — no matter what.“

Reproaction organizer Evonnia Woods rounded out the testimony by challenging Gov. Greitens to advance measures that improve Missouri’s maternal and infant mortality rates. “Black women in Missouri are four times more likely to experience pregnancy-related complications regardless of wealth and education,” Woods said. She also called out elected officials for diverting federal food assistance funds to so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” that mislead women and coerce pregnant people into continuing their pregnancies. She asked, “How can the governor and legislators call themselves ‘pro-life’ while taking food out of the mouths of hungry babies to fund fake pregnancy clinics?”

Rabbi Jonah Zinn of Congregation Shaare Emeth adjourned the People’s Session by calling citizens and elected officials alike to heal the world and bring justice.

Following the session, grassroots supporters participated in a social media “Thunderclap,” which reached more than 80,000 people during the online action.

Video of the rally can be viewed here.

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