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Kirkwood Democrats Seek Support of Women's Contraceptive Rights

The Bonhomme Township Democrats held a discussion in Kirkwood regarding the history of women’s battle for contraceptive choice.

Kathy Ratino, communications instructor at St. Louis Community College, stood in front of a PowerPoint slide which pictured a victorian-era cartoon of a woman fighting off a stork with her umbrella. The caption in the cartoon read, “and the villain still pursues her.” The cartoon, Ratino said, represented the villains who have stood in the way of women's contraceptive rights. 

The slide was the start of an hour-long lecture by Ratino about the history of women’s contraception rights at the , sponsored by the Bonhomme Township Democrats, a Democratic district that encompasses Des Peres, Fenton, Kirkwood, Oakland and Sunset Hills.

“For politicians, the birth control issue is not about deeply held convictions; it’s about political moves,” said Ratino, as she explained that Republican politicians such as former presidents Richard Nixon or George Herbert Walker Bush had supported women-contraception rights in the past.

Ratino went through the history of contraception policy in the U.S., from the birth of the rubber condom in 1855, to Missouri bill SB-749, which was passed by the Missouri legislature this year and limits women’s access to contraception if the employer considers it goes against his or her religious beliefs.

Three Democratic candidate hopefuls attended the event: Harold Whitfield and Glenn Koenen, who are both running for the U.S. Congress, and Deb Lavender, who is running for Missouri State Rep for District 90.

Lavender asked those in attendance to call Gov. Jay Nixon and ask him to veto SB-749.

“This is horrible for the state of Missouri and for women,” Lavender said.

Lavender said the event, which was attended by approximately 30 people, served to educate voters about what is happening in their government and asked Kirkwood voters to support women’s contraception rights.

“Please think about your daughters, sisters, mothers, friends and all the women who are affected by this,” Lavender said.

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