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HomeGeneralDemocrats Set to Overturn Missouri State Law Banning Pregnant Women From Getting...

Democrats Set to Overturn Missouri State Law Banning Pregnant Women From Getting Divorced

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In the past, women in Missouri were subject to an old law restricting them from leaving a marriage pregnant. It is now 2024, and the offspring of women who had to live by such a law are coming out to say no more!

The law has been in power since 1973. Since then, the Missouri statute refused to finalize any divorce while the wife is carrying a fetus. The law existed so the couple could sort out custody and child support questions before the split.

Now Ashley Aune, a Missouri state representative, has introduced legislation aiming to overturn the ban, according to Fox 4 Kansas City. “It just doesn’t make sense in 2024,” Ms Aune told the outlet, citing recent testimony from a woman who had been unable to divorce her abusive husband.

“Not only was she being physically and emotionally abused, but there was reproduction coercion used. When she found out she was pregnant and asked a lawyer if she could get a divorce, she was essentially told no. It was so demoralizing for her to hear that. She felt she had no options.”

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The Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, a non-profit based in Jefferson City, supported the new law, saying it could “literally save lives.”

According to chief public affairs officer Matthew Huffman, abusive partners frequently use “reproductive coercion” to control their partners. This involves keeping them pregnant in order to prevent them from getting a divorce.

The existence of Missouri’s pregnancy divorce ban was largely unknown to many people. However, after Fox 4 published its story on Monday, it quickly went viral on Reddit and X, formerly Twitter. There are no exceptions for domestic violence, Fox 4 added.

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Arkansas, California, and Texas reportedly have similar laws. And there are other states that make it technically possible but realistically difficult to divorce while pregnant. Ms. Aune is famous for fighting for women’s rights.

She previously criticized Missouri’s Republican state legislative majority for passing a dress code requiring women to cover their arms in the chamber.

The issue has brought to light other states where women wishing to divorce are at the mercy of judges. These judges mostly don’t sanction petitions during pregnancies, a practice Aune believes must end. 

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Aune believes that women have a right to make decisions about their lives regardless of whether they are pregnant or not. She hopes the lawsuit will successfully end the decades-old practice in Missouri, especially because of women trapped in abusive relationships.

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