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Order: Abortions can continue at Missouri's lone clinic

FILE - In this June 21, 2019 file photo, an anti-abortion advocate attempts to solicit a motorist entering the parking lot of the Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, the state's last operating abortion clinic in St. Louis. A Missouri judge says the state’s lone abortion clinic can continue performing abortions, at least in the near future.St. Louis Circuit Judge Michael Stelzer on Monday, June 24, 2019, ruled to extend a preliminary injunction he previously issued to allow a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis to continue performing abortions through June 28. (Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP File)

If Republicans want to reduce the abortion rate in Missouri, they sure aren’t doing anything to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Only about 50% of pregnancies in Missouri are a result of a mother intending to get pregnant. How we do make sure every pregnancy is a wanted one? We must ensure everyone has access to affordable, accessible birth control.

Missouri has a Medicaid program to address this. Women’s Health Services covers reproductive care (contraception, family planning, and testing and treatment for sexually-transmitted diseases) for women ages 18 to 59 who are not otherwise eligible for health care and making less than 201% of the federal poverty level. This program should help reduce unintended pregnancies. Anyone who is “pro-life” should support this program.

But ever since a declared “pro-life administration” came into the governor’s office in 2018, 28% fewer women have been covered by this program — over 19,000 fewer women.

The Missouri Legislature further restricted reproductive care access for the 72% of women who continue to have women’s health services Medicaid access by restricting their ability to choose a doctor — a process that a court recently ruled was unconstitutional.

In short, since we have had a Republican in the governor’s office in Missouri, low-income women have been far less likely to have access to reproductive care to prevent unintended pregnancies.

Sarah Unsicker • Shrewsbury

Missouri State Representative, 91st District