(Abortion is prohibited in Missouri. If you are in need of an abortion, please see the resources at the bottom of this page.)
The ACLU of Missouri works to protect and expand the health and self-determination of all Missourians in the face of escalating attacks on reproductive freedom.
Missouri’s criminal ban on abortion went into effect on June 24, 2022, when then-Attorney General Eric Schmitt enacted the state’s trigger law moments after the U.S. Supreme Court decided Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Dobbs overturned Roe v. Wade, the nearly 50-year-old precedent in which the Court recognized that the 14th Amendment’s protection of liberty , i.e., privacy in a person’s intimate decisions, includes the right to decide whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term.
The 14th Amendment right to liberty includes rights previously understood to protect abortion: the right to bodily integrity and the right to make fundamental decisions about family. These rights were recognized by the Court long before Roe, as the 1992 decision reaffirming Roe in Planned Parenthood v. Casey explained.
Despite the legal precedent, Missouri’s elected leaders had long been attempting to deprive Missourians of their rights related to abortion, contraception, and maternity care that is safe, legal, accessible, and affordable. Now, with the longstanding protections of Roe and Casey removed, Missouri politicians have criminalized abortions—even for victims of rape and incest, and for patients carrying fetuses with fatal anomalies. Missouri’s abortion ban has a exception for medical emergencies, but it has only raised legal questions among the medical community for once common treatments. The nearly total ban has already caused people experiencing miscarriages and other dangerous complications to endure further suffering and medical risk.
Missouri lawmakers are forcing women to remain pregnant against their will and sometimes with dire health risks, despite a maternal mortality crisis they have acknowledged, but failed to address. Missouri is among the worst states for maternal mortality in the U.S., a country that has the worst maternal mortality among industrialized nations. Black women in Missouri have a maternal mortality rate more than three times that of white women.
Missouri politicians’ attacks on reproductive freedom have not been limited to abortion. They have sought to create barriers both for those who wish to avoid pregnancy through contraceptive use, and for those who wish to have healthy pregnancies and children. For example, the legislature refused to accept federal funds to provide Medicaid to more low-income people. Even after Missouri voters amended the state constitution to require Medicaid expansion, the state continued to refuse to act until the Supreme Court of Missouri enforced the will of the voters.
A 2022 report by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services that documented Missouri’s worsening maternal mortality crisis recommended that the legislature extend Medicaid coverage for postpartum women from 60 days to a year. Yet, the state continued to mandate that unwilling women remain pregnant and failing to provide this postpartum care to women after they give birth, despite the availability of federal funding for that purpose.
In a climate of extreme hostility, the ACLU of Missouri will continue to fight in the courts, in the statehouse, at the ballot box through ballot measures and other races, and in the streets to restore protections for the bodily integrity and autonomy of all Missourians.
If you believe you may be in need of an abortion, it is important to act quickly. These resources can help:
- Power to Decide’s AbortionFinder.org has a directory of trusted abortion service providers and assistance resources in the United States, including states bordering Missouri.
- Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri has a Regional Logistics Center that can help with transportation, lodging, or financial assistance for people seeking abortion care in Illinois at Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region or Hope Clinic for Women.
- If/When/How’s Repro Legal Helpline is a free, confidential helpline where you can get legal information or advice about the abortion laws in your state, including self-managed abortion, and referrals to local resources.