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Democrat leadership requests special session on birth control, ectopic pregnancies


Jefferson City, Mo — Missouri’s leading Democrats in the House and Senate have requested a special session of the Missouri legislature to pass “narrowly tailored legislation” regarding birth control and ectopic pregnancies.

Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo, D-Jackson County, and House Minority Floor Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, sent a letter requesting the session to Gov. Mike Parson Monday.

The Democrats are seeking to clear up confusion that has arisen since the signing of Attorney General opinion No. 22-2022, which outlawed abortion in Missouri with the exception of medical emergencies. Missouri was the first state in the country to make abortion illegal after the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

However, “medical emergency” is a broad term. Those who want the special session fear medical professionals may be hesitant to provide care for fear of legal repercussions.

“This new law has created dangerous uncertainty around which forms of birth control and procedures are allowed. And so I think it’s really important that Missouri clarify its laws, to save lives to protect birth control, and to allow doctors to provide appropriate medical care,” Sen. Lauren Arthur, D-Clay County, said.

“I’ll just say, personally — I’ve heard from health care professionals who want to provide the very best care for patients — but are aware that this poorly written while may expose them to legal risk,” she added.

Though the letter was sent to Parson by Democrats, Arthur believes this is an issue that effects both Republican and Democrat constituents.

“I hope that this doesn’t come across as political,” Arthur said. “It’s just that after hearing from the people directly impacted by the law, who are both Republicans and Democrats, they’ve explained that the law as written causes problems.”

Both Parson and Attorney General Eric Schmitt have made comments and tweeted about the situation. However, those who want the session want birth control protections and specific legal definitions codified into law.

“Unfortunately, documents issued by the DHSS and any public statements and social media posts from your office or others do not carry the force of law,” the letter sent to Parson reads.

Parson has already called for a special session to draft legislation dealing with tax relief.

“I think if the governor wants to call us back for a special session on tax cuts, we can also look at clarifying that language. I think specifically as it relates to protecting access to birth control, and clearly defining what constitutes a medical emergency,” Arthur said.

“We don’t want politics to stand in the way of necessary medical procedures. I think doctors know best, but they are having to navigate all of this, kind of legal quagmire to figure out how to best treat a patient,” she added.