“To the Missouri State Senate, women aren’t people. They aren’t American citizens. Pharmacists in Missouri can refuse to sell them birth control pills. It’s about belief. If your pharmacist believes you, a woman, shouldn’t be using birth control, he can refuse to sell you the drugs. It’s about his belief. He has a right in Missouri, according to the Senate, to see to it that you behave as he thinks you should. This is what it means to be a woman in America today? We’re back to this?” -Anne Rice
Women in Missouri are not being treated like real people who deserve rights, freedoms, and access to medical care. The Missouri senate has passed legislation, called HB 457, that will allow pharmacists not only the right to deny women* from accessing their birth control -even if prescribed by a doctor- but to also stop stocking birth control and emergency contraception (EC)in their stores. This law is in line with many laws currently taking shape in the United States. The republicans seem very determined to undermine everything feminists and suffragists have fought for: they want women to have no reproductive rights and they are using religion as a mask to hide their misogyny. The law is meant to protect pharmacists from having to give out medicine that does not fit their religious beliefs, which greatly effects women. This law is misogynist because it is a law that has been created to harm women’s health.
HB 457 is harmful to all women but is detrimental to rape victims and rural women in particular. Rape victims may not have access to or be provided with the medical care they would need to prevent an unwanted pregnancy caused by rape. Despite what Missouri Republican Todd Akin believes women need reproductive technology in every case of rape:
“”First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” -Todd Akin
I know there are many misconceptions about rape in the Republican party but Republicans being idiots is not a good enough reason for women to have to suffer. Women who are raped and are denied EC will be forced to suffer even further than they already have, and will be more likely to need access to an abortion in the future.
Women living in rural areas will suffer because they will not have the option to find a new pharmacist, if they are denied reproductive technology from the one they have. In many small towns there is only one pharmacist, and towns are spread out. In this case women who do not have the ability to travel to a different town for a pharmacist will no longer have access to the reproductive technology they need for their health.
I agree with Anne Rice when she said “We’re back to this?”, because these laws are taking us back in time. Is it the republicans goal to have the same reproductive rights as “third world” countries like Chile where an 11 year old rape victim was forced to carry a child? Do they want the country to revert in laws for women to the point where women are no longer considered people? Because that is where they are headed. This is the backlash people; and it’s just the beginning. With rights being taken back one by one and new laws full of red tape for women to access their healthcare it’s only a matter of time before women have no reproductive rights at all. With the rate of unintended pregnancy in teens rising in the US it just doesn’t make sense that they would be creating even more laws to prevent women from reproductive technology.
Women need every kind of reproductive technology available to them at all times, and the opinions of a pharmacist should not prevent them from having the health care they need. One person should not have the right to control the lives of others. Women need to be able to live their lives as they choose and to have the medical care they need in order to do so. The only way for true equality is for all people to have rights over their own bodies, and that means reproductive rights for everyone.
*in this article women refers manly to cis-gendered women but also to any person who would need access to birth control, EC and reproductive technology