About 8,000 pro-choice supporters are expected to gather Saturday in downtown St. Louis for the second annual “Women’s March”. Alison Dreith, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, is empowered by the number of participants because organizers only began planning the event two weeks ago.
“I had a real worry at the beginning that ‘Should we even do this? If we don’t have as many people as last year, is that going to make us look bad?’ Because what we saw in 2017 was so incredible,” Dreith tells Missourinet.
About 10,000 people attended last year’s St. Louis march. Sister marches were held all over the world in 2017 – drawing millions of supporters to them.
When comparing Missouri’s abortion regulations to those of other states, Dreith says the Show-Me State is “the worst state in the country, hands down.”
“In 2017, with Judge Sach’s ruling in Kansas City, we had some hope in Missouri coming out of the Whole Women’s Health decision. Columbia started providing surgical abortions again, Kansas City started providing medical abortions again. Now technically, we are no longer a one-clinic state. There are other states out there that only have one clinic,” says Dreith. “But when Governor Greitens called an abortion special session, Senate Bill 5 was the most-sweeping omnibus bill that this country has ever seen. It really put an increased barrier of women seeking services.”
The measure enacted includes:
•A more robust definition of abortion clinics, which include separate regulations from other medical centers
•Requiring clinics to submit to unannounced annual inspections and have plans for possible complications arising from the abortion pill
•Forbids clinic workers from interfering with EMS personnel performing their duties, or instructing ambulance drivers to not use lights and sirens
•Whistleblower protections for clinic employees
•Requires abortion doctors to meet with their patients 72-hours in advance of the procedure to explain its risks
•Sets strict requirements for tracking fetal tissue after abortions
•Protects non-abortion performing pregnancy centers from a St. Louis ordinance which prohibits discrimination based on reproductive decisions and use of birth control
Tomorrow’s march begins at 10 a.m. in downtown St. Louis. Several special guests will also speak. There’s no admission fee.
A counter-event on Friday in Washington, D.C. included about 3,000 St. Louis area pro-life supporters. The “March for Life” denounces a 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortions.