Missouri Has One of Highest Maternal Death Rates In U.S., Passes Abortion Ban in Senate

In another blow to women’s access to healthcare in the United States, Missouri’s Republican-led Senate passed a bill Thursday to ban abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy.

However, it needs at least one more vote of approval in the House before it can go to Republican Gov. Mike Parson. On Wednesday, Parson said he supported the bill.

Missouri’s bill is slightly less severe than the draconian legislation passed in Alabama on Tuesday but still criminalizes abortions. The Missouri proposal has exceptions for medical emergencies but not for pregnancies caused by rape or incest and doctors would face five to 15 years in prison for performing abortions after the eight-week cutoff.

Women who receive abortions at eight weeks or later into a pregnancy wouldn’t be prosecuted.

The bill also bans abortions based on a “prenatal diagnosis, test, or screening indicating Down Syndrome or the potential of Down Syndrome.”

Unlike Alabama’s infamous recent abortion ban, Missouri’s will only start if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Critics are pointing out that according to America’s Health Rankings by the United Health Foundation, the rate of maternal mortality in Missouri are well above the national average and have been on the rise from 2016 to 2018.

In 2016, there were 28.5 deaths related to pregnancy per 100,000 live births, which rose to 32.6 in 2018. Meanwhile, nationally, there were 19.9 deaths per 100,000 live births compared with 20.7 in 2018 in the United States, according to the United Health Foundation.

These additional restrictions on women’s rights are likely to hurt Missouri economically as well.

In 2016, Missouri’s per-capita GDP was 16 percent below the national per-capita GDP and the gap is projected to increase. Over a five-year period, the national GDP was projected to grow six percent while Missouri’s was projected to grow only about four percent.

Trends have also been predicting that the population of young people will continue to decrease or see only very minor increases over the coming years. By 2030, younger adults aged 25 to 44 will only make up about 25 percent of the total population – and that was predicted before this crackdown on women’s freedoms.

Children who are born and then end up in the foster care system in Missouri don’t face great odds.

In Missouri, there were over 68,000 reported incidents of neglect in the state in 2016. Approximately 19,400 children are in the care of Missouri Children’s Division right now. Over 500 kids aged out of the foster care system in Missouri in 2016 without a permanent, legal family and with nowhere to turn. On average, more than 7,000 kids enter the Missouri foster care system each year.