The Missouri Legislature was pulled back into its second Special Legislative Session by Gov. Eric Greitens to grapple with issues related to abortion. This was partly because of a recent court case that ruled against the state, and partly because of a St. Louis City ordinance that prevented discrimination on the basis of a woman’s reproductive choices.
After the call went out to legislators a call, an email really, came to me asking if I would be available to head down to Jefferson City to cover the session. I was just waking up when the email came in, fired off a quick response in the affirmative and hopped in the shower.
As I woke up more, I realized that I had just agreed to go cover a special session that, honestly, I didn’t have the full perspective to be able to cover adequately. I realized that if I was going to cover abortion I would need a woman to cover it with me, or instead of me. I came to this decision based on the fact that I work in a predominantly female newsroom and, despite my (very) slight edge of experience in covering the state capitol, it would be inappropriate for me to cover a women’s health issue while excluding them.
I resolved to call my editor back as soon as I got out of the shower and tell him that I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing this until he offered it to other women in the newsroom, or unless one of them was at least coming with me. I got out, grabbed my phone and he had responded to my previous email saying I would be going down with a female reporter so that ended up not being a problem after all, but it still stuck in my mind while I was reporting. I would always try and ask myself what one of my female coworkers would be asking or thinking while reporting.
Here are the articles that I worked on while down there: