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Missouri’s abortion bill removes people’s ability to exercise self-determination. Our country reinforces the concept of the “American Dream,” wherein people are able to make their own choices in pursuit of their individual happiness. Yet, this bill directly impedes such a liberty.

This bill also fails to recognize the very real experiences of those who are pregnant and/or those who think they might be pregnant. At eight weeks, many women may not know they are pregnant. Menstruation cycles may not be consistent, or women may not notice one skipped period. Moreover, eight weeks does not take into account the extenuating factors in people’s lives: getting off work to travel for an abortion, acquiring the funds for an abortion and developing practical plans with their support networks.

A third contention I have with this bill concerns those with limited support networks. I work at a domestic and sexual violence service agency and have interacted with many clients who are pregnant as a result of rape, incest or reproductive manipulation. In these circumstances, the survivor’s autonomy has already been limited; she has often experienced a traumatic loss of control concerning her safety and her own body.

This bill would only seek to re-traumatize these women in further removing their ability to control their bodies and lives. As a woman and gender-studies scholar, I am appalled by the actions of the Missouri Legislature.

Rosie Jones • Maplewood