Missouri activists are currently engaged in a 72-hour “women’s filibuster” to stand up against the dozens of proposed abortion restrictions that have been considered in the state legislature this session. One of the bills that’s moving toward final passage is a measure that would lengthen Missouri’s current abortion waiting period to 72 hours, the longest in the country — and that’s why protesters are continuing for a full three days.
Despite some wind and rain, and even after the Senate approved the 72-hour waiting period bill on Monday night, the reproductive rights activists have continued their citizen’s filibuster. They’re determined to make it until 2 pm CT on Thursday, when the three-day period officially ends. Many women are standing on the capitol steps sharing their own abortion stories.
— Jillian Adams (@JillianRAdams) May 12, 2014
— Progress Missouri (@ProgressMO) May 12, 2014
— Grace Danforth (@slappin_dagrace) May 12, 2014
— Christina Mullinax (@crmullinax) May 13, 2014
— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) May 14, 2014
— Grace Haun (@gracehaun) May 14, 2014
— PPMO Advocates (@PPMO_Advocates) May 14, 2014
Another citizen-led filibuster, involving the hundreds of Texas activists who packed into the state capitol building to support state Sen. Wendy Davis’ 13-hour effort to stall a package of extreme abortion restrictions, captured the nation’s attention last summer. Although the attacks on reproductive rights in Missouri haven’t gotten the same level of national press as Texas’ new law — which has had a catastrophic impact on the abortion providers in the state as it’s begun to take effect — the threats are still dire for Missouri women.
Missouri only has one abortion clinic left in the entire state. So far this session, more than 30 pieces of anti-choice legislation have been introduced to regulate that lone clinic — more abortion restrictions than any other state in the country has pushed this year. If the 72-hour waiting period becomes law, it could effectively end abortion in Missouri, because women may opt to travel across the border to Illinois to access services in a shorter time frame. That would hand the anti-choice community, which is eager to claim its first “abortion free state,” a significant victory.