5.22.19

Page 6

NEWS

A6 • ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

M 1 • WeDneSDAy • 05.22.2019

Abortion From A1

Supreme Court drew hundreds of protesters and several Democratic presidential candidates. Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, in addition to Reps. Eric Swalwell of California and Tim Ryan of Ohio, were among the attendees as multiple members of Congress spoke to a crowd that hoisted signs defending abortion rights. “I cannot tell you how important this moment in our country’s history is,” Gillibrand said. “Do not allow this moment to lapse without putting everything you can behind it. Organize, advocate and vote.” Some protesters carried purple signs that declared, “Abortion is a human right.” Among their chants: “No church/No state/Women must decide their fate.” Lauri Ploch, 67, came from Alexandria, Virginia, with a sign depicting a drawing of a uterus and the message, “Mine, not yours.” Ploch recalled the conflict over birth control and abortion rights in her youth, and suggested that her generation mistakenly believed that such struggles were in the past. “I got complacent for a little while. I think a lot of people did,” she said. “Right now we need to really get up in their faces and show that we are ready to fight to keep our rights.” In Atlanta, several hundred protesters jammed onto the steps of the Georgia statehouse. Chants of “Vote them out!” and “My body, my right!” blared through a loudspeaker as passing drivers honked their horns in support. One woman carried a coat hanger with a sign that read, “Not going back.” Brandi Borgwat, 42, drove about 30 minutes from her home in Woodstock, Georgia, to join the protests. “I didn’t protest before because it sounded so insane that I didn’t believe it would pass,” Borgwat said of Georgia’s new law. It’s scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, but opponents have vowed to sue to block it. In St. Louis, a crowd stretched from the west side of Luther Ely Smith Park, in the shadow of the Arch, across Fourth Street

Helmet From A1

The legislation has been on the wish list of motorcycle rights groups for years, but it has never made it to a governor’s desk. Tony Shepherd, lobbyist for A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education, or ABATE, said getting the helmet law across the finish line came as a surprise given its long history of failing. “We are stoked,” the 62-year-old O’Fallon, Mo., resident said. “We’re still in disbelief.” The original sponsor of the proposal is Sen.Eric Burlison, a Springfield Republican who had backed similar

ROBERT COHEN, RCOHEN@POST-DISPATCH.COM

Shelby Morgan, of Barnhart, demonstrates in front of the Old Courthouse in St. Louis on Tuesday to oppose a bill passed last week by the Missouri Legislature that tightens restrictions on abortions. “I believe that women should have a choice about what to do with their bodies,” Morgan said. to the steps of the Old Courthouse. Signs warned that “Signers of HB126 will pay at the polls,” referring to Missouri’s restrictive bill, and that “Women will die. Republicans don’t care.” Speakers, including the Rev. Traci Blackmon; St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones; Democratic Rep. Cora Faith Walker of Ferguson; two OB-GYNs; and Alison Dreith, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, told the crowd that the bill was about controlling women and would not stop abortions but simply prevent safe access to them. They handed out Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s phone number and implored the crowd to “flood” his office with calls and to vote those who supported the ban out of office. At the end of the organized event, some protesters filled Fourth Street, blocking traffic and chanting “veto” and “we

legislation during his tenure in the House. The measure awaits Parson’s signature.As a member of the House in the 2000s, Parson twice voted in favor of abolishing the state’s helmet laws.If approved,the change would take effect Aug. 28. Shepherd attributed the win to a new mix of lawmakers in the Senate and the fact that the legislation was just one provision in a larger mix of transportation-related changes that were included in one bill. “It just happened to come at the right time,” Shepherd said. In the past, there has been resistance largely in the Missouri Senate because operating a motorcycle tends to be

won’t go back” for about 20 minutes before leaving. Ashley Buck, 30, a waitress from St. Louis, held a cardboard sign that read, “I’m a Pro-Choice Mom” on one side and “Ask Me About My 2 Abortions — I Am Not Ashamed” on the other. She said she had one at age 16, and another at age 27. “My choice,” Buck said. That same message was echoed by several hundred people gathered in the Utah Capitol rotunda. Their chant: “My body, my choice!” Utah legislators recently passed a ban on abortions after 18 weeks but have agreed not to enforce the ban as a court challenge plays out. In the crowd of abortion rights activists, one counterprotester, JACQUELYN MARTIN, ASSOCIATED PRESS Deanna Holland, stood with an Kristin Mink of Silver Spring, Md., holds her three-week-old daughter anti-abortion sign urging people Tuesday as she protests restrictive abortion laws outside the Supreme to care for unborn fetuses. Court in Washington. Being able to access abortion services earlier in life allowed Mink to have the life she has today, with her two children, Mink Robert Patrick of the Post-Dispatch said. contributed to this report.

more hazardous than operating a car. According to National Highway Transportation Safety Administration,1,859 motorcyclist lives were saved in 2016 because they were wearing helmets. In addition, if all riders had worn helmets, an additional 802 lives would have been saved, the report notes. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, helmets reduce the risk of head injuries from motorcycle crashes by

69 percent and deaths by 37 percent. Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia have universal helmet laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear a helmet.Twenty-eight states require only some motorcyclists to wear a helmet. Three states — Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire — do not have a motorcycle helmet law. According to the institute, when California imposed a helmet law covering all riders in 1992, the number of mo-

torcyclist fatalities dropped by 37 percent. When Texas changed its law in 1977 to require helmets only for riders younger than 18, the state saw a 35 percent increase in motorcycle fatalities.The Lone Star State reinstated its helmet law in 1989 and saw serious injury crashes decrease by 11 percent. In 1997,Texas again weakened its helmet law, requiring helmets only for riders younger than 21. Operator fatalities increased 31 per-

cent in the first full year following the repeal. Shepherd downplayed the statistics,saying he’s crashed his bike with and without a helmet. “It’s about freedom. We want to get the government out of our lives. We’re not outlawing helmets. We are letting you decide,” Shepherd said. The legislation is Senate Bill 147. Kurt Erickson • 573-556-6181 @KurtEricksonPD on Twitter kerickson@post-dispatch.com

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