In response to Representative Allen Andrews’ column in The Forum last week, I’d like to offer a rebuttal: Allen Andrews voted to ban abortion past 5-6 weeks gestation (about the time many women discover they are pregnant) with no provision for rape or incest victims. Missouri rape and incest victims will be forced to deliver their rapists babies if this legislation passes. This is the strictest abortion legislation in the US--essentially banning it completely in Missouri.

Mr Andrews is not a licensed doctor and has never practiced medicine. While Mr Andrews is a decent man with Christian values, he will never need an abortion due to rape, or incest, or any other reason within the range of appropriate causes women seek abortion in the first trimester. Mr Andrews will never face the devastation of carrying a baby in utero that is not compatible with life. Mr Andrews’ life will never be threatened by maternal illness. 

Mr Andrews is unaware of, or actively ignoring, Missouri’s maternal mortality rate. Missouri’s rate of maternal death is nearly 20% higher than that of the nation, and the rate of women of color dying from maternal illness is nearly triple that of white women in the nation (United Health Foundation Organization, 2018). Missouri is a dangerous state to carry a pregnancy to term.

I can appreciate Mr Andrews’ conservative views, but when he voted to ban abortion, he made Missouri women less safe. By pushing his way into doctors offices and demanding reproductive control over ½ of his constituency--obviously this legislation is only geared toward women--he has chosen to make his religious views a priority over Missouri women’s health. Mr Andrews has deemed some lives greater than others. Mr Andrews is specifically looking toward fetal personhood, and that comes with a host of problems that I couldn’t begin to explain in this space.

It is possible to be a Christian, and pro-life, and yet let Missouri women have access to reproductive healthcare. Representative Andrews publicly stated in his Facebook post about this legislation that, “Abortion is not a political issue, but a moral issue.” I hope he will heed his own words in the future and let women and their doctors make decisions about healthcare. Decisions about abortion do not belong in the hands of lawmakers.

–– Jessica Piper