Hundreds rally outside St. Louis’ federal courthouse over abortion rights and implications if Roe v Wade is overturned

Just 24 hours after a majority draft opinion was leaked from the Supreme Court, people across Missouri are taking action on both sides.
Published: May. 3, 2022 at 9:58 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Tuesday evening, hundreds of abortion rights advocates stood outside the federal courthouse downtown chanting to stop the ban on women’s health care rights. It’s a reaction stemming from the majority opinion leaked to Politico Monday.

“It’s time for us to mobilize. Every politician who has contributed to the dismantling of our right to abortion, our right to basic health care, must be held accountable,” Dr. Colleen McNicholas said.

McNicholas is the chief medical officer for Advocates of Planned Parenthood in Missouri. She and several others spoke at the rally outside the courthouse Tuesday. It’s been less than 24-hours since the draft majority opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey was leaked. It’s a change that could happen at the end of June and would trigger a ripple effect of legislation across the country.

“The point was to sort of create what’s called a trigger law. So, it’s not a law that was going to go immediately into effect, but if the legal landscape changed, it would automatically upon a ministerial action take effect,” Marcia McCormick explained.

McCormick is a Saint Louis University Professor of Law and specializes in women and gender studies. She said in Missouri if Roe and Casey are overturned, per a governor or legislative order, anyone who induces or causes an abortion would face felony charges. The only exception is a rare, medical circumstance that would be determined by a doctor. However, in Illinois, it’s a completely different story.

“Illinois has passed legislation to ensure that pregnant people have access to the ability to terminate pregnancies and the full range of abortion care,” McCormick said.

McCormick said if abortion rights go back to the states, additional restrictive abortion laws like the most recent one in Texas could become a reality in the Show Me State. A law the experts said it could ban anyone in Missouri from getting an abortion anywhere.

“[It] would create a case of action allowing someone to sue for damages for that, or anyone who provides any information on how to access abortion services, or anyone who helps someone get an abortion anywhere,” McCormick explained.

It’s legislation that’s been discussed in the Missouri General Assembly and many state lawmakers are behind it.

“Our pro-life protections across the state extend not only to the unborn child, but children and adults as well,” Mary Elizabeth Coleman said.

Coleman, a Republican state lawmaker out of Jefferson County, has sponsored several anti-abortion bills over the last few years. She played a critical role in Missouri’s abortion ban trigger statute going into place, and said she’s proud that statute is in effect as it seems Roe and Casey could be overturned.

“It’s hard to put into words what it’s like to see all the things the pro-life movement has been fighting for over the last 50 years come to fruition,” Coleman said.

For now, this draft opinion is not law. Experts said this opinion and decision could change before the end of the Supreme Court’s session, which is at the end of June.