The cat Salem in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. The closed captioning reads "Are you kidding me?"

Missouri Lawmakers Finally Take Strong Stance Defending Bodily Autonomy … for Cats

If you hear anti-choice Missouri lawmakers talking about the importance of respecting the doctor-client relationship and staying out of private medical decisions, don’t get your hopes up. They are not thinking of you and your bodily autonomy.

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That is, unless you’re four-legged, furry, and go crazy for catnip.

The Missouri state senate recently approved a bill to block local ordinances restricting the practice of veterinary medicine, but it is specifically aimed at overturning St. Louis’s ban on cat declawing. If a House committee approves the bill, it will then be taken up by the full House.

State Sen. Justin Brown is the sponsor of the declawing bill—as well as last year’s trigger ban on most abortions. He argued that medical professionals and their patients should be able to determine what procedures are medically necessary or not, sans government interference. Unfortunately for anyone who doesn’t enjoy a good scratching post, it fully appears the irony is lost on him.

“It interferes with the patient-client relationship with the practitioner,” Brown said, echoing similar arguments made by doctors and other experts regarding abortion restrictions. “I think that needs to be between the practicing veterinarian and the owner of the pet.”

In other words, “we simply don’t want politicians in our emergency departments or exam rooms.” Oh, wait … (checks notes) … that one’s from an ad signed by 300 doctors opposing abortion restrictions. The arguments sound so similar, it’s easy to get confused!

Thinking it through, though, this particular proposal does fit right in with the anti-choice “your body, my choice” narrative. It’s not like they’re letting the cats make personal healthcare decisions. Let’s be real, no cat on the planet would choose to give up their claws, and for good reason. According to the Humane Society, far from a minor procedure, declawing involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe, “like cutting off your fingers at the knuckle.” It’s a painful ordeal with major long-term health implications—hey, a lot like pregnancy!

No, the idea behind the ban on declawing bans is that the decision to inflict irreparable bodily harm should rest not in the hands of the actual patient, but with someone who supposedly knows better than them.

And that is definitely, disturbingly, in character.

(feature image: Netflix)

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Erika Wittekind
Erika Wittekind (she/her) is a contributing writer covering politics and news and has two decades of experience in local news reporting, freelance writing, and nonfiction editing. Her hobbies and special interests include hiking, dancing in the kitchen, trying to raise empathetic teen boys, and keeping plants alive. Find her on Mastodon at