By Alison Dreith, NARAL Executive Director
Despite the best efforts of Attorney General Hawley to shut down clinics and restrict access to care across the state, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals delivered a resounding win for women and families. Hawley, who is only concerned with his own career, made it his personal mission to use his elected office to enforce an out-of-touch ideology. The court saw through his argument and ordered him to stand down, issuing a ruling that paves the way for new health clinics to open in order to serve women across the state. Even with this victory, we must continue to be on guard, as Hawley has now announced his campaign for the Senate. Hawley has continuously used women as props throughout his career, and now he’s elevating his attacks on reproductive rights all the way to Congress.
While Planned Parenthood sought to open new clinics to serve women in Springfield, Joplin, and Columbia, Hawley personally tried to block them from opening by filing for an “emergency stay.” Consistent with his extreme anti-choice record, Hawley unsuccessfully used the levers of government in an attempt to satisfy his personal vendetta against reproductive rights.
While this is a huge win for women and the 7 in 10 Americans who believe abortion should remain legal and accessible, Missourians still face some of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws anywhere in the country, thanks to out-of-touch politicians such as Hawley. Along with a 72-hour mandatory delay for every procedure, Missouri also has an unconstitutional 20-week ban on abortions without a test to determine if the pregnancy is unviable, and informed consent and state-mandated information laws. In fact, Missouri has a whole host of anti-choice laws, including parental consent laws for minors, insurance restrictions, bans on public funds, and much, much more.
97% of Missouri counties have no abortion clinic, and access across the state overall is severely restricted. As Attorney General, Hawley has jurisdiction over abortion providers in the state and used this power to enforce his extreme, anti-choice ideology. The Eighth Circuit Court’s ruling will help change the tide, opening desperately needed clinics to serve women across the state. Yet, undeterred from his most recent defeat, the relentlessly anti-choice Hawley now seeks to elevate his attacks on our basic human rights by campaigning to represent our state in the U.S. Senate.
The truth is, Missouri families can’t afford more fringe politicians like Hawley obsessed with taking away our access to basic healthcare. This summer, Gov. Eric Greitens pushed through new regulations designed to limit women’s access to abortion care. Governor Greitens even wasted $92,000 of taxpayer resources this summer by calling a seven-week special session just for legislation on abortions. For a state budget in crisis, this isn’t a smart move.
The law set to go into effect, SB 5, forces medically unnecessary delays in care by requiring the same doctor providing an abortion procedure to also provide state-mandated and medically dubious medical information to the patient 72 hours earlier. As a result, women may now face extreme delays and increased barriers to care, simply because politicians like Hawley don’t believe women should have the right to choose if, when, and how to start a family.
Hawley is obsessed with attacking reproductive freedom and was even on the team defending Hobby Lobby in their infamous Supreme Court case attacking birth control. Kyle Duncan, Trump’s latest extremist, anti-choice judicial nominee and former head counsel for Hobby Lobby stated, “I can say without hesitation that Josh Hawley was instrumental to obtaining the landmark victory that protects the religious liberty of all Americans.”
Hawley has a clear and consistent anti-choice record. He even has the resounding support of the well-known extreme anti-choice group Susan B. Anthony List, who mistakenly tweeted their support for Hawley’s senate campaign back in July–months before he even announced he was running.
But now Hawley is officially running for Senate, announcing his campaign on Tuesday after only serving nine months as Attorney General. Hawley’s record speaks for itself, and if his time as Attorney General is any indication, we know that he will use his time as Senator to continuously throw Missouri’s women and families under the bus. For Hawley, this was never about women’s health or policy, but using every opportunity he gets to push his extreme, anti-choice agenda no matter the devastating cost to Missouri’s women and families.