The Supreme Court announced Fri., June 24, that they have ruled in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Supreme Court case, overturning Roe v. Wade and permitting each state to individually determine whether or not abortion will be legal within their borders. Since 1973, Roe v. Wade has declared that pregnant individuals have a constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy before the point of viability, or within the first two trimesters. Now, however, that will be determined on a state-by-state basis.

In Missouri, Attorney General Eric Schmitt activated the state’s “trigger law” minutes after the Supreme Court ruling. This made Missouri one of the first states in the union to ban abortion almost completely, without exception for rape or incest. In total, there are now 26 states where abortion is likely to be banned or severely limited. 

"With this attorney general opinion, my office has effectively ended abortion in Missouri, becoming the first state in the country to do so following the Court’s ruling," said Schmitt, who is also running for U.S. Senate, in a statement.

Individuals who attempt to get an abortion in Missouri will not be prosecuted under this law, but abortion providers–like Missouri’s last abortion clinic, the Planned Parenthood clinic in the Central West End–can now be prosecuted for providing care. 

This ruling coincided with other rollbacks of long-standing rights in America. 

On Thursday, the  Supreme Court handed down a decision in Vega v. Tekoh. That ruling sets in motion the limitation of Miranda rights. These two decisions do not bode well for the human rights of Americans writ large, but are likely to harm Black and brown Americans in particular.  Black Americans will suffer the brunt of the Dobbs ruling because of less access to resources which enable them to circumvent states which are criminalizing abortion.  And with the ruling in Vega, police have been given greater freedom to racially profile, arrest and do harm to African Americans they stop and arrest for minor offenses, or arbitrarily, without repercussion if they fail to read them their rights. 

In a statement released this morning, Mayor Tishaura Jones said, ‘Today’s unjust ruling from a far-right Supreme Court doesn’t change the fact that 7 in 10 Missourians support the right to an abortion. It does not change the fact that in states like ours, we’ve already been living a post-Roe reality, with thousands traveling out of state for abortions.” 

“As devastating as this moment is for families across the country, St. Louisans are ready to take action to protect our rights until Congress steps in to do what it should have done decades ago: codify Roe into law.”

In the St. Louis area, abortions are still available at Planned Parenthood’s health center just across the river in Fairview Heights, Illinois. The Missouri Abortion Fund is still assisting those who need funding to pay for out-of-state abortions and associated costs. 

There are multiple rallies planned in support of reproductive rights in Missouri Friday evening.  Check for The St. Louis American’s continued reporting on the Dobbs decision’s fallout in our state.

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