Rep. Cori Bush coming to Kansas City as Democrats emphasize campaign on abortion rights

Laurie Skrivan/AP

Rep. Cori Bush, a St. Louis Democrat, will campaign on abortion rights in the Kansas City area on Sunday as Missouri Democrats launch a statewide tour to engage their voters on the issue ahead of the November election.

Abortion rights have become a galvanizing issue for the Democratic Party in the aftermath of a June U.S. Supreme Court ruling that eliminated the constitutional right to an abortion. Missouri was the first state enact a ban, after the ruling triggered a law that prevents abortions except in medical emergencies.

Bush, who has testified before Congress about an abortion she had as a teenager and the impact it had on her life, will headline events for the party around the state.

“At 17 years old I was raped and became pregnant, then I had an abortion; now, in states like Missouri—the first to ban abortion care—Republicans would force me to birth the child of my rapist,” Bush said in a press release. “The fight for reproductive freedom begins in Missouri.”

The tour will make stops in Gladstone, at the Clay County Democratic Party headquarters, and Kansas City, at Mill Creek Park, on Sunday at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. respectively.

Missouri Democrats see abortion rights as a key issue to draw out their supporters for down ballot races in November. They point to a vote across state lines in Kansas, where voters overwhelmingly rejected a ballot measure that would have eliminated the right to an abortion in the Kansas constitution.

While Trudy Busch Valentine, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in Missouri, has used abortion rights as a wedge issue in her campaign, she isn’t participating in the tour. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who is the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, activated Missouri’s ban. He is heavily favored to win the election in November.

Bush is a somewhat controversial figure among some members of the Democratic Party, given her roots in progressive activism — she called herself a “politivist” on Late Night with Stephen Colbert. In response to the abuse of power by law enforcement, she has called for defunding the police, a controversial slogan disavowed by Democrats like President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Schmitt has already referenced Bush’s support for the concept and criticized Busch Valentine for seeking Bush’s support. Bush responded with a clown emoji Tuesday.