2019 Editorials

Statement on Missouri’s passage of “fetal heartbeat” bill, HB 126

May 22, 2019 Women’s Voices condemns the passage of a draconian abortion bill in the last days of session by the Republican-dominated Missouri legislature. Once again, the Missouri GOP has demonstrated their willful disregard for the right of women to control their lives and health decisions. A significant majority of the public favor safe, legal abortion, but the out-of-touch Missouri GOP doesn’t care. The Missouri bill criminalizes abortion as early as 8 weeks, with no exceptions for rape or incest. Missouri became the fifth state this year to pass a ‘fetal heartbeat’ bill. Doctors would face 5 to 15 years in prison for violating the ban. If Roe v. Wade is overturned by the Supreme Court, abortion would automatically be banned in the state. Missouri already had some of the most restrictive abortion limits in place, leaving women in Missouri with a single abortion provider in St. Louis. We thank our members who spoke out against the ban and contacted their legislators. The ban will undoubtedly be challenged in court, and we must continue to advocate for safe, legal abortion and continued funding for reproductive health services, such as Planned Parenthood. In other action, the legislature did eliminate mandatory minimum prison sentences for some non-violent offenses, and bar local courts and counties from putting people back into jail for not paying costs of previous incarcerations. But, most of the good news out of this legislative session is what did not pass, including: Medicaid and food assistance work requirements, repeal of Clean Missouri redistricting reforms, changes to the minimum wage increase, guns in schools and daycares, and school vouchers. Again, strong advocacy efforts on these issues helped keep them from passing. Thanks for taking the time to speak out. Ironically, by repealing the motorcycle helmet law this session a majority of Missouri legislators are fine with letting motorcycle riders (predominately males) decide whether to wear a helmet or not. This is despite increased fatalities and severe head injuries in riders without helmets. So, in Missouri, we can’t let women make their own health care decisions, but we can “let the rider decide”.

Statement on Shootings in Sri Lanka and at Chabad of Poway synagogue

April 29, 2019 Following the shootings at the mosque in New Zealand we wrote of our belief in the right of everyone to worship as they choose. We have condemned violence. We have called for sensible gun regulations. We have run out of new words to express our sorrow and our dismay at the recent suicide bombings in Sri Lanka and at the shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue near San Diego, California. Here are the words of others. “A little bit of light pushes away a lot of darkness. We need a lot of light now.”  Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, Chabad of Poway  “We will still stand taller, speak louder and fight harder. … We will not rest until this ideology of hatred, extreme nationalism, religious supremacy and violence is completely eradicated.”  Karen Sher, spokeswoman, The Jewish Federation of St. Louis “The way to combat hate is through unity.” Avi Rubenfeld, a rabbi with Chabad of Chesterfield “We must stand together and continue to replace the cycle of viciousness with that of love, peace, togetherness, community service and all of that which our faiths stand for.”  Mufti Asif Umar, imam at Daar-ul-Islam mosque near Ballwin

Statement on Shootings in New Zealand

March 16, 2019 They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us. I can tell you right now our gun laws will change. Now is the time. Those are the comments of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand following the horrific attack killing 49 and wounding dozens of worshipers at two mosques in Christ Church. Women’s Voices has too often written in mourning for victims of mass shootings. But once again we speak out to state categorically that we believe in the freedom of all to worship as they choose. We believe in justice for immigrants and in welcoming communities for refugees. We support and praise New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern and agree, once again, Now is the time. ​

Money talks, but what is it saying to our children?

March 10, 2019 Our current system will continue unless we all take responsibility to make changes. Read commentary on education equity published in the St. Louis Post-Disptach, written by co-presidents, Mary Clemons and Ruth Ehresman and co-founder, Barbara Finch.

Expanding Medicaid will better serve those already insured

February 18, 2019 Ruth Ehresman, co-president of Women’s Voices, writes in her letter to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Gov. Mike Parson could maximize tax dollars spent on Medicaid and provide every Missourian with access to quality health care to improve our workforce by expanding Medicaid. Read the full letter here.

#ThisIsOurLane, but Our Lane Needs All of Us: EM Physicians Speak Out on Gun Violence

January 25, 2019 Commentary: Our Lane Needs All of Us, by Kristen L. Mueller, MD, Assistant Professor, Division of Emergency Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine and Megan L. Ranney, MD, MPH, Department of Emergency Medicine, Alpert Medical School, Brown University Dr. Mueller, a member of Women’s Voices, partners with us on our “Lock It for Love” initiative by providing gun locks to patients who are at risk for suicide.

St. Louis Women’s March

January 6, 2019 Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice has considered the accusations of anti-Semitic remarks by leaders of the national Women’s March organization and the claims of lack of diversity in many of the local marches. We find these claims disturbing and are saddened to see that a “women’s march” has turned into a controversy resulting in some cities canceling their events. (See https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/23/us/womens-march-anti-semitism.html) Although the St. Louis march organizers have declared that they are independent and not affiliated with other marches, and state that they have a diverse planning team, our board of directors has voted to not add our name as a sponsor of the march. As a multi-issue social justice organization, Women’s Voices partners with other organizations and works in concert with them to create a more just and inclusive community for all. To that end we feel we cannot lend our name to an event that could possibly be construed as discriminatory. We are heartened that following the first march two years ago, women were inspired to run for office and organized for local candidates. And many won! We are also pleased that the St. Louis march has a commitment to diversity. We suggest that individuals make their own determination about whether to march; go to the official St. Louis march website for more information. https://stlwomensmarch.com/details/