Covering the special abortion legislative session

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:

Missouri Senate abandons several of Greiten’s anti-abortion proposals

Opposing abortion-related rallies fill the Capitol during special session

Missouri House committee passes abortion bill with stricter regulations