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