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Anti-Abortion Group Sets Up ‘Snitch Line’ To Spy On Abortion Rights Activists

A protester holds a sign that says "Long Live Abortion."

In Missouri, reproductive rights groups have begun gathering signatures to enshrine abortion rights into the state constitution. But one anti-abortion group isn’t happy—and it’s using intimidation tactics to get its way.

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Two Missouri Groups, Missourians for Constitution Freedom and Abortion Action Missouri, are seeking to reverse the state’s near-total abortion ban. Both groups are leading a signature drive to put a constitutional amendment on the state ballot, which would legalize abortion care for all who need it. Both groups are holding events to gather signatures, including trainings and other gatherings. Currently, the state has banned abortions except in the case of medical emergencies—and even emergency abortions have been denied to patients who needed them.

In response to the petitions, anti-abortion group Missouri Right to Life has placed a banner on its website encouraging its supporters to call a “tipline” if they spot people gathering signatures. The website banner reads, “To Report Pro-Abortion Signature Gatherers Contact Us At Our TIPLINE: 417.413.4134.” The website doesn’t explain what the group plans to do with the information it gathers, but abortion rights activists see the move as an intimidation tactic.

St. Louis’ alternative weekly newspaper The Riverfront Times reports that a volunteer with Moms Demand Action, Laura Burkhardt, has encouraged abortion rights supporters to render the hotline useless by flooding it with calls.

“The anti-abortion group Missouri Right to Life is back on their bullshit,” Burkhardt posted to X (formerly Twitter). “They’ve set up a tip line for to report locations of signature gatherers. This is an intimidation tactic and it won’t work.

CLOG THE LINE! They won’t be able to keep up. Get students involved. I have.”

Abortion rights activists are fighting multiple fronts in Missouri

The constitutional amendment petition isn’t the only effort to restore reproductive healthcare to Missourians. Yesterday, Republican Congressional staffer Jamie Corley withdrew the state ballot petition she helped create, which would have added rape and incest exceptions to the ban, legalized abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and protected doctors and patients from prosecution. Corley told The Missouri Independent that she didn’t want her petition to compete with the petition spearheaded by Missourians for Constitution Freedom and Abortion Action Missouri.

(via The Riverfront Times and The Missouri Independent, featured image: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)

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Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.