This year’s Missouri Reproductive Justice Town Hall, “We Have Nothing to Lose But Our Chains: Missouri’s Abortion Initiative Petition,” will be held Monday, June 24 at 6 p.m. on Zoom. The Missouri Abortion Initiative Petition recently finished collecting signatures to get abortion rights on the ballot in Missouri. However, the language of this petition would ask voters to make a decision about abortion rights up to “fetal viability”—and this particular language has some concerning implications for those already marginalized by current state systems as well as for the future of reproductive justice in Missouri.

Discussing these crucial issues will be Reale Justice Network Founder Justice Gatson and Medical Students for Choice Executive Director Pamela Merritt. In discussing the post-Roe movement in an interview for Mother Jones, Merritt noted, “The abortion rights and health movement has been in a death spiral of compromise for about 30 years…We have an opportunity here to build something better, and we’re not even talking about it.”

In this town hall, we’re going to talk about it. We’re going to talk about the language of viability, why it opens already marginalized and vulnerable communities in Missouri up to more harm, and what kind of reproductive movement we’re building instead.

In a statement to the KC Defender right at the overturn of Roe, Gatson explained the stakes we’re still talking about now, two years later: “The most marginalized groups among us will suffer. Black women, our LBGTQ siblings, Trans masculine and non-binary people will be pushed off of the margins that they are already desperately clinging too. Abortion access is not just a human right; it is the law of the land and must be upheld.”

While the current petition aims to uphold some abortion rights, it’s also leaving restrictions in place when it comes to accessing abortion. In addition, it’s not addressing any of the systemic barriers to accessing reproductive care, especially barriers that most impact BIPOC, trans, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming members of our community.

If you think Missourians deserve better when it comes to reproductive justice, please join our conversation at the town hall on June 24 at 6 p.m. You can register for the Zoom event online.