Home US Missouri is attempting to overturn divorce law for pregnant women as Democratic state legislator Ashley Aune argues ‘it just doesn’t make sense in 2024’

Missouri is attempting to overturn divorce law for pregnant women as Democratic state legislator Ashley Aune argues ‘it just doesn’t make sense in 2024’

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A state statute dating to 1973 makes it illegal for a judge to finalize a divorce while a woman is carrying a fetus. The law aims to ensure that issues such as custody and child support are decided before the couple completely separates (file image)

A Missouri lawmaker sharply criticized the state’s “archaic” law that prohibits women from divorcing during pregnancy.

A state statute dating to 1973 makes it illegal for a judge to finalize a divorce while a woman is carrying a fetus. The law aims to ensure that issues such as custody and child support are decided before the couple completely separates.

But Rep. Ashley Aune, a Democrat who represents Platte County, maintains that the law, which has no exceptions for domestic violence, “simply doesn’t make sense in 2024.”

The state lawmaker introduced a new bill stating that pregnancy cannot prevent a divorce or separation from being finalized after her constituents said it was a “big deal.”

“I just want moms in difficult situations to come out if they have to,” Aune said. FOX 4.

A state statute dating to 1973 makes it illegal for a judge to finalize a divorce while a woman is carrying a fetus. The law aims to ensure that issues such as custody and child support are decided before the couple completely separates (file image)

A state statute dating to 1973 makes it illegal for a judge to finalize a divorce while a woman is carrying a fetus. The law aims to ensure that issues such as custody and child support are decided before the couple completely separates (file image)

1709121973 391 Missouri is attempting to overturn divorce law for pregnant women

1709121973 391 Missouri is attempting to overturn divorce law for pregnant women

But state Rep. Ashley Aune (pictured) criticized the state’s “archaic” law, which has no exceptions for domestic violence, saying it “simply doesn’t make sense in 2024.”

Aune agreed that the more than 50-year-old law was made with good intentions to ensure Missouri children received proper care, but says it needs to be updated to reflect modern families.

During a committee hearing earlier this month, the Democrat detailed testimony from a woman who was “being physically and emotionally abused” and, after learning she was pregnant, asked a lawyer if she could file for divorce.

“They basically told her no,” Aune said of the woman. β€œIt was very demoralizing for her to hear that. She felt like she had no options.”

The legislator added that there was “coercion of reproduction” in the woman’s relationship, of which, according to her, “many women” are victims.

Aune, in a radio interview with KCUR on Monday, said reproductive coercion can “look like many different ways,” but often involves “preventing reproductive care,” “preventing access to contraceptives” and “keeping a partner pregnant.”

She stated that because of this practice, women who have escaped domestic violence situations go to shelters with “four, six, eight children” and claims that in the facilities “new homes are actually being built to accommodate these large families.” .

A report from the state Department of Health and Senior Services found that nearly 5 percent, about 500 of 10,098 women surveyed between 2007 and 2014, revealed they had been abused before or during their pregnancies.

Aune noted that the divorce ban affects both men and women, saying she has heard testimony from “both genders” who allege the law “has kept them in a marriage they didn’t want to be in.”

He added: “Imagine a situation where a man wants to get a divorce and the wife doesn’t want that to happen, and so she gets pregnant on purpose, right? Maybe she doesn’t communicate her own problems with birth control. This is something What happens to both parties.”

1709121973 20 Missouri is attempting to overturn divorce law for pregnant women

1709121973 20 Missouri is attempting to overturn divorce law for pregnant women

Aune (not pictured) also argued that in a state that has effectively banned all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest, it is “important” that women have the option to leave an unwanted marriage. Pictured: Pro-choice advocates at the kickoff campaign for the Missourians’ Petition for Constitutional Freedom on February 6.

1709121973 419 Missouri is attempting to overturn divorce law for pregnant women

1709121973 419 Missouri is attempting to overturn divorce law for pregnant women

Missouri senators voted earlier this month against amending the state’s strict anti-abortion law to allow exceptions in cases of rape and incest. The state banned nearly all abortions after the Supreme Court in 2022 overturned Roe v. Wade. Currently, abortions are only legal “in cases of medical emergencies.” Pictured: Missourians for Constitutionals Freedom activists kick off petition drive on February 6

Aune also argued that in a state that has effectively banned all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest, it is “important” that women have the option to leave an unwanted marriage.

“In a state where we currently force women to carry babies to term, I think it’s important that…women who are in that position and who are also looking to break up the marriage have the ability to do so,” she previously said to the Kansas City Star.

Missouri senators voted earlier this month against amending the state’s strict anti-abortion law to allow exceptions in cases of rape and incest.

The state banned nearly all abortions after the Supreme Court in 2022 overturned Roe v. Wade. Currently, abortions are only legal “in cases of medical emergencies.”

Democratic state Sen. Tracy McCreery attempted to add amendments to allow exceptions for abortion in cases of rape and incest to a Republican-sponsored bill that would continue to block taxpayer funds from going to Planned Parenthood.

Both of McCreery’s amendments were rejected along party lines in the Republican-led Senate, and debate on the underlying bill broke down before a final vote on February 7.

Aune’s bill to repeal the divorce ban, which the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence considers a “top priority,” is “still a work in progress,” FOX 4 reported.

Aune is understood to not be optimistic that the proposed legislation will reach Gov. Mike Parson’s desk this session.

Texas, Arizona and Kansas currently have similar divorce laws.

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