Missouri Republicans say women should get abortions at the zoo
Now that Republicans have installed a conservative anti-woman majority on the Supreme Court, the party's hostility toward reproductive freedom is more relevant than ever — and as it turns out, more repulsive than ever, as well.
Reproductive freedom has been under assault in America for a very long time, but it has escalated recently with relentless Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, and with the seating of an ill-gotten Republican majority on the Supreme Court.
If it was not clear enough already, recent remarks by a pair of Republican state legislators in Missouri vividly demonstrate the misogyny and contempt underpinning their party’s attacks on reproductive freedom, as well as the need for vigilant resistance.
While debating Missouri Senate Bill 67, yet another state TRAP law designed to shut down clinics, Republican state Senators Bob Onder and Wayne Wallingford suggested that women should go to the St. Louis Zoo for abortions (full audio here, via Progress Missouri):
ONDER: So we inspect our McDonaldses, we inspect our nursing homes twice a year, our preschools twice a year, we —
WALLINGFORD: Our school — school lunch programs, they’re in there inspecting that.
ONDER: Inspecting all the time, and the zoo! The zoo! The St. Louis zoo gets inspected once a year.
WALLINGFORD: Well maybe we should send the people that want an abortion to the St. Louis zoo, because we know it’ll be safer.
ONDER: You know it’s funny you say that, Senator.
Fact check: It is actually not funny that he said that; it is repulsive and terrifying. It is also illustrative of a party that just elevated Misogynist-in-Chief Donald Trump to the presidency, and continues to wage war on women’s health care at every level of government.
States have been steadily chipping away at abortion rights, even more motivated now with Republican control of all three branches of government. The good news is that TRAP laws have fared poorly before the Supreme Court thus far, failing by a 5-3 margin in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.
The bad news is twofold. By the time these laws get to the Supreme Court, the damage is often already done, and clinics have already been forced to shut down, and Donald Trump still has almost four years left — barring his removal from office — to appoint another justice to upset that razor-thin balance. Even if Trump does not last in office, a President Mike Pence would make even more regressive selections to the Court.
Elections have consequences, but if Trump’s presidency has taught us anything, so does resistance. This fight is just beginning.