ST. LOUIS, MO — Abortion rights activists — including musician Amanda Palmer — rallied in the shadow of the Gateway Arch Thursday afternoon before marching on the Wainwright State Office Building a few blocks away. That building is home to Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s office in St. Louis, and a handful of protesters gained entrance to the lobby, blocking elevators and daring police to arrest them. Hundreds more gathered in the building’s courtyard, carrying signs and giving speeches via bullhorn from atop a low brick wall that served as an impromptu stage.
According to the Riverfront Times, at least a dozen activists had been arrested as of about 3 p.m.
Palmer, who left before the march to Parson’s office, performed “In My Mind,” and spoke about the song’s theme.
“If it feels like it’s too little, too late, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is what we do right now,” she said.
Palmer also spoke about her own abortions, saying that while it was a difficult thing to discuss, she felt she had to.
“I’m doing it because I can. I’m doing it because my family is not going to disown me. I’m doing it because my awesome feminist husband is like, wow, this is really awkward and uncomfortable … I’m so proud of you,” Palmer said, adding that she believes “if you can, you must.”
Palmer’s husband is the writer Neil Gaiman.
Planned Parenthood announced earlier this week that its last clinic in Missouri may cease abortions Friday after the state refused to renew its license, citing “deficient practices.” According to the group, the state hasn’t told them what exactly those practices are or how they are deficient. An investigation is ongoing, but Planned Parenthood has already challenged the decision in court.
Last week, Parson signed one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the country into law, criminalizing abortion after 8 weeks — before many women know they’re pregnant — with no exceptions for rape or incest. Now, Planned Parenthood has accused the governor of “weaponizing” the state’s health department to effectively ban abortion outright.
If the state’s decision stands, Missouri will become the first state since the Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973 to have no abortion clinics.
“This is effectively a ban on abortion, period,” Planned Parenthood said in a press release. “Missourians’ right to abortion care is not debatable, and we will hold Gov. Parson and his extremist allies in the legislature accountable.”
In recent months, states across the country have passed a slew of so-called heartbeat bills, banning abortion as early as six weeks and setting the stage for a Supreme Court challenge that could overturn Roe v. Wade.
Parson has vowed to make Missouri “the most Pro-Life state in the country” and says he is “committed to standing up for those without a voice.”
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