Abortion in Missouri

Overview of the Ban

When the Ban Took Effect

On June 24, 2022, Missouri state law banning abortions took effect after the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court. This immediately made abortion services illegal within the state, except for in limited medical emergency situations which will be explained further on.

What the Ban Does

Missouri’s trigger law enacting a total ban on abortions was written to take effect if Roe v. Wade was overturned. Now abortion services are completely illegal within Missouri, punishable by prison time and fines for any providers found violating the law by offering abortions.

The only exceptions in the law are abortions deemed medically necessary to save the pregnant person’s life or prevent serious physical health risks. These limited exceptions mean that people seeking abortions for other reasons must now travel out of state.

Limited Exceptions

Within Missouri currently, the only legal reasons for obtaining an abortion are:

  • To save the pregnant person’s life
  • To prevent serious physical health risks for the pregnant person

These medical emergency situations have to be approved by physicians and hospital panels before an abortion procedure will be allowed under Missouri’s law.

Impact on People Seeking Abortions

Traveling Out of State

Since abortion services are now completely banned within Missouri, anyone seeking an abortion will have to travel out of state to obtain one legally. This requires time and money many people do not have readily available for extensive travel.

Finding a Provider

The first step is utilizing online abortion provider databases to locate a clinic or doctor in a neighboring state that offers abortion services. States like Illinois, Kansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas are closest but each has different laws regarding abortion. Calling soon as possible to make an appointment is key as wait times increase.

See also  Abortion in Washington, D.C.

The National Abortion Federation (NAF) Hotline at 1-800-772-9100 offers help finding appointments and navigating barriers accessing out of state abortions.

Assistance Programs

Traveling out of state often requires assistance to cover costs. Various non-profits offer financial and logistical help for those forced to travel to obtain an abortion. Most require having an appointment already scheduled before providing aid with expenses like transportation, lodging, childcare and the procedure itself.

Judicial Bypass for Minors

In many states surrounding Missouri, minors have to notify and get consent from a guardian to receive an abortion. They can bypass this requirement through a judicial bypass process allowing a judge to give consent instead of guardian. More information and assistance getting a judicial bypass is available from the If/When/How Judicial Bypass Helpline at 844-868-2812.

Current Status of Missouri Abortion Laws

Total Ban with Limited Exceptions

As of June 24, 2022, elective abortion services are completely illegal in Missouri outside of the two medical emergency exceptions already covered. Anyone seeking an abortion must now leave the state to access care. Missouri is expected to penalize providers rather than people getting abortions under the law.

Exceptions Overview

Still allowed within Missouri currently are abortions:

  • To save pregnant person’s life
  • To prevent serious physical health risks for pregnant person

These fall under life-saving emergency medical situations that have to be approved by doctors and hospital panels first.

Next Steps

Schedule Appointments Out of State

First priority is getting an appointment scheduled out of state as soon as possible. Use online abortion provider databases and be prepared to travel within a close state not banning abortions. Call the clinics directly to schedule and ask what their expected wait times are.

Apply for Assistance Before Appointments

Once an out of state abortion appointment is made, start applying to non-profits offering financial aid and travel support. Most have applications online and require some time to process, distribute funding, and arrange assistance. Get this in motion prior to the scheduled appointment date.

Consider All Options

If traveling out of state for an abortion presents too many barriers, consider options like using medication abortion pills which can be accessed through the mail or from international online pharmacies in some cases. Adoption and keeping the pregnancy are also options dependent on individual circumstances and beliefs.

See also  Abortion laws in Louisiana

FAQs

Can I get an abortion in Missouri?

No, as of June 24, 2022 abortion services became illegal in Missouri outside of limited medical emergency exceptions. Anyone seeking an elective abortion must now travel out of state.

What if I’m a minor?

Minors in many neighboring states have to notify/get consent from guardians to obtain abortions. They can go through a judicial bypass process to get a judge’s approval instead if needed. Contact the If/When/How Judicial Bypass Helpline for assistance.

What states can I travel to?

Illinois, Kansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and some other states within driving distance allow abortions currently and are closest options for Missouri residents to travel to. Use online abortion provider databases to locate clinics in nearby states.

Is financial assistance available?

Yes, many non-profit organizations provide assistance funding travel costs associated with getting an abortion out of state such as transportation, lodging, childcare and the procedure itself sometimes. Most require having an appointment already made before applying for aid.

Who can I contact for help?

The National Abortion Federation Hotline (1-800-772-9100) and If/When/How Judicial Bypass Helpline (844-868-2812) both offer assistance navigating barriers accessing abortions and answering questions. Individual abortion clinics in nearby states can also address questions regarding their specific services, policies and costs.

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