On Eve of Right to Life Rally, MO Gov. Mike Parson’s Anti-Choice Record Is Big Liability in Governor’s Campaign
In case you missed it, the Associated Press reported that Missouri’s gubernatorial race is being viewed as increasingly competitive thanks to GOP Gov. Mike Parson’s severe anti-choice record. Gov. Parson will become the first sitting Missouri governor to speak at the Midwest Right to Life Rally on Saturday.
In 2019, Gov. Parson signed a bill banning abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy, earlier than many women know they are pregnant, even in the case of rape or incest. This extreme bill is vastly unpopular with Missourians – a Public Religion Research Institute poll found that only one in five support banning abortions in all cases.
Now, Parson’s out-of-touch position has turned this contest into a competitive race with State Auditor Nicole Galloway, the likely Democratic gubernatorial nominee.
A PPP poll commissioned by the DGA in November found that the gubernatorial race is “wide open” with the ongoing fight over abortion rights having the chance to “drastically alter” the contest. The poll found Parson looking increasingly vulnerable while Galloway benefited from a unique cross-party appeal.
Read more about why Gov. Parson’s anti-choice record could sink his desperate bid for reelection:
Associated Press: Abortion Among Key Issues In Missouri 2020 Governor’s Race
Abortion is expected to play a key role in Missouri’s 2020 governor’s race, when voters will decide whether to stick with a Republican who signed one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the U.S. or go with the only Democrat who holds statewide office.
Republican Gov. Mike Parson, who served as lieutenant governor and assumed leadership after Gov. Eric Greitens resigned amid scandal in 2018, is heading into the race with good odds over state Auditor Nicole Galloway in the GOP-dominated state.
But the issue of abortion could tighten things after Parson signed a law last year that bans most abortions at or after eight weeks of pregnancy with no exceptions for rape or incest, University of Central Missouri political scientist Robynn Kuhlmann said.
“It’s definitely an issue that’s going to spur more Democrats out to vote, in particular more women,” Kuhlmann said.
Galloway has called the law “outrageous” and cited its severity as a driving factor in her decision to enter the governor’s race. The law, which does include exceptions for medical emergencies, is on hold as Parson’s administration fights a court battle over its constitutionality.
University of Missouri-St. Louis political scientist Dave Robertson said Parson’s support of the law might turn off some more moderate Republicans and motivate suburban women to turn out in support of Galloway.
Parson emphasized his anti-abortion position during his State of the State speech this month, telling lawmakers that “all life has value, including the unborn.”
Next month he plans to take part in the Midwest March for Life, an anti-abortion rally in Jefferson City.
The stakes of the election are high. Party control of the governor’s mansion beginning in 2017 emboldened the Republican-led Legislature to pass sweeping anti-abortion measures without the concern of mustering enough support to override a veto by a Democratic governor.
Under Parson, anti-abortion groups are celebrating big wins. Parson’s health department last year came close to shuttering the state’s only abortion clinic. A state commission is now reviewing whether the Planned Parenthood center in St. Louis will be able to keep its license to perform the procedure.