RELEASE: Missourians express fear of losing birth control access during ‘IUD Express’ event in St. Louis

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

St. Louis, Mo. – Beneath the shadow of a 20-foot inflatable IUD and with the Gateway Arch in view, community leaders and citizens shared their concerns about politicians attacking their right to access birth control and IVF. Advocates had a clear message to electeds: You can’t take our rights without a fight. 

Dubbed “The IUD Express,” the inflatable birth control device is part of a campaign by Americans for Contraception that aims to educate the community on the importance of protecting women’s access to contraceptives.

“First they came for abortion. Then IVF. Now contraception,” said Heather Lindsy, a St. Louis resident who spoke at the event. “This isn’t about policy. It’s about control.”

Earlier this month, U.S. Senators Josh Hawley and Eric Schmitt voted against the Right to Contraception Act blocking the bill’s passage in Washington. Without protection in place, the Missouri legislature could move to eliminate those freedoms as they did with abortion rights in 2022 just minutes after the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson

“There can be no confusion here about what Josh Hawley and Eric Schmitt did by voting against the Right to Contraception Act,” said Margot Riphagen, Vice President of External Affairs at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri. “This was a simple bill to guarantee the right to basic birth control. These politicians showed that they have no qualms about ripping our health care options away piece by piece. Missourians cannot trust their rights to be protected by our state legislature when it took just minutes to ban abortion after Dobbs. We need our elected officials to protect our right to plan our families.”

According to data from the Missouri Family Health Council, over 85% of Missourians support people having access to all methods of birth control. But nearly 60% of Missourians have expressed concern about state elected officials restricting access to it.

However, Hawley’s record makes it clear that he will do anything to keep Missourians from having access to reproductive health care, from his stance of being 100% pro-life to the work he and his family have done to ensure families can’t access birth control through their employer.

“Make no mistake. This is a planned effort by Senator Hawley and other extreme politicians to strip women of their reproductive freedoms,” said Liz McCune, Executive Director of Progress Missouri. “We will not stay silent. We urge all Missourians to call Senators Hawley and Schmitt and their elected leaders and tell them to protect our right to contraception and our own reproductive health.”