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Missouri Sen. Steve Roberts

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Missouri Democratic state senator and congressional candidate Steve Roberts hasn’t been shy about controversy. 

But recently, his record on reproductive rights has some democrats concerned ahead of his August primary. 

Roberts has voted for numerous anti-abortion bills during his time in the state senate. 

Although he has a decent rating from the regional Planned Parenthood, at a time when there is so much at stake for the right to abortion rights and reproductive health generally, supporting efforts that have been documented to cause harm raises questions about his ability to put reproductive health and justice first.

In 2018, Roberts voted yes on HB 1288, a bill that expanded and extended millions in tax credits to anti-abortion centers. He was one of six Missouri House Democrats who voted yes on the bill, which Planned Parenthood vehemently opposed before the vote.   

A year later he voted to deregulate anti-abortion clinics which, according to planned parenthood, are not required to provide factually or medically accurate information, which could mislead pregnant people. 

On Feb. 23,  2022, Roberts voted in the State Senate to defund Planned Parenthood, though we must note, that he also voted for an unsuccessful amendment to remove the defunding provision. ProChoice Missouri, as well as other reproductive rights organizations, spoke out against the vote.

As the primary election nears in Missouri, Sen. Steven Roberts will set his sights on popular, progressive incumbent Congresswoman Cori Bush, whose district includes all of the city of St. Louis and most of northern St. Louis County. Bush has made her stance on reproductive rights very clear. For Roberts, that stance is a bit more grey. Can voters see past his record? What about his scandals? 

According to the intercept, Roberts has been accused of rape multiple times, including one by his former fellow lawmaker Cora Faith Walker, who recently died, and another by Amy Harms, a lawyer from St. Louis. Roberts denies both sexual assault accusations and says it’s nothing more than his opponent trying to stain his reputation. His team also pointed the finger at the media.

“We sincerely encourage you to report facts and not what ‘you’ve heard,” a campaign spokesperson told The Intercept, “Nothing you have reported has been factual or balanced.”

The Missouri Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, August 2, 2022.  Voters will have a lot to think about from now until then…


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