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KBIA’s Health & Wealth Desk covers the economy and health of rural and underserved communities in Missouri and beyond. The team produces a weekly radio segment, as well as in-depth features and regular blog posts. The reporting desk is funded by a grant from the University of Missouri, and the Missouri Foundation for Health.Contact the Health & Wealth desk.

Voices from Friday's Abortion Ban Protest: ‘I'm already now a second-class citizen – am I going to lose more?’

Well over a hundred people gather on the steps outside the Boone County Courthouse. There is a bright blue sky, vivid green grass and a family sitting in the center of the frame with signs that read, "What about my life" and "We need to talk about the elephant in the womb."
Rebecca Smith

On Friday, the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and Missouri became the first state in the county to intact it’s trigger law, which outlaws abortion in all cases except when the pregnant person’s life is in danger.

Just hours later, more than a hundred people gathered at the Boone County Courthouse for a somewhat informal protest – to be together, to grieve, to share their own experiences with abortion and talk about what steps people could take next.

Here are just a few of the voices of those who gathered on Friday.

Callie Moxley & Sarah Lewis

Sarah Lewis, left, and Callie Moxley and Wes Moxley, center and right, sit in the middle of the crowd outside the Boone County Courthouse. Callie holds a sign that reads "This is NOT about ABORTION - it is about POWER."
Rebecca Smith
Sarah Lewis, left, and Callie Moxley and Wes Moxley live in Harrisburg. They said the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade brought them out to their first protest ever.

Callie Moxley: I live in Harrisburg,

Sarah Lewis: I'm from Harrisburg, as well.

Callie: So, this is the first protest, first meeting, first gathering I've ever been to. I think today's overturning motivated me to come out for the first time.

Sarah: I'm passionate about it because I have had two pregnancies that I would have died if Roe vs. Wade hadn't been precedent. I had an ectopic pregnancy five years ago. So, I'm just very passionate about this cause.

Callie: They've said they're coming after contraception. They've said they're coming after gay rights, gay marriage. For me, that's contraception, not just for me, but for our two young daughters.

What does this mean? What are they going to come after? Am I going to lose even more rights?

Like I'm already now a second-class citizen – am I going to lose more? Are my daughter is going to lose more? What does this mean for their future?

Supriya Vuda

Supriya Vuda stands on the stage outside the Boone County Courthouse addressing the crowd. She is wearing a green top and brown pants.
Rebecca Smith
Supriya Vuda, a second year medical student, addressed the crowd at the protest: "Science is on your side. Therefore history will be, as well."

Supriya Vuda: I am a second year now at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine.

So, I am especially concerned about the no exception rules because there's a lot of nuance in medicine and that in itself will be very dangerous.

Because ectopic pregnancies – medically – are not viable. There's no way to save an ectopic pregnancy. It is a literal death sentence for the mother.

This is something we learn within the first eight weeks of medical school.

Any medical student can tell you how terrible ectopic pregnancies are, and any complicated pregnancies – how terrible they are for women, and how much of a toll pregnancies in general can take on a woman's life.

So, it is – it should be up to women and their providers to make a decision about what they want to do with their body, and not five people of the Supreme Court – which is ridiculous.

Mikayla Woods

Mikayla Woods, right, is wearing a bright orange outfit, glasses and a pale blue headscarf. She sits next to her son, Kaliel, left, that is wearing a dark green shirt that says "Mama's Boy."
Rebecca Smith
Mikayla Woods said she came out to the protest – even on the Muslim holy day – to support her community.

Mikayla Woods: I live here in Columbia, and I came because really, I just wanted to let my statement be known – because I think sometimes when you're a religious individual, people sometimes will think that you're supposed to behave a certain way, or you're not allowed to feel empathy for other human beings.

And I mean, it's Friday. So, this is the Muslim holy day – this is Holy Friday.

So, I woke up and I was just kind of on social media, and I'm looking and then I see it come down off of my news app, you know, that the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and I was just like, “50 years, and we're still going backwards.”

Not even with just Roe v. Wade, but I mean, the racial issues we just had in 2020. That's been 50, 60 years of that, and then now this, you know, when history isn't comprehended – it repeats itself.

So, it broke my heart, honestly, you know, we've come so far, just to go this far backwards.

The song playing is “Hard Headed Woman” by local musician, Violet Vonder Haar that was performed on Friday at the protest.

Rebecca Smith is a reporter and producer for the KBIA Health & Wealth desk. She was born and raised in Rolla, Missouri, and graduated with degrees in Journalism and Chemistry from Truman State University in May 2014. Rebecca comes to KBIA from St. Louis Public Radio, where she worked as the news intern and covered religion, neighborhood growth and the continued unrest in Ferguson, MO.
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