Come Again? Missouri Law Prevents Pregnant Women from Filing for Divorce—But Change Is on the Horizon

Come Again? Missouri Law Prevents Pregnant Women from Filing for Divorce—But Change Is on the Horizon


In Missouri, a state law uniquely positions pregnant women in a bind, legally barring them from obtaining a divorce until after giving birth. This legislation, deeply rooted in historical and societal norms, has faced scrutiny and criticism for its impact on women's autonomy and rights. Spearheading a progressive change, Missouri State Rep. Ashley Aune, D-Kansas City, introduced HB 2402 in January at the state Capitol, a bill aimed at overturning this contentious law.

women in circle with hands together in unity

Background of the Law

Originating from decades-old legal precedents, Missouri's law preventing pregnant women from divorcing is based on the principle of ensuring clear paternity determination and child welfare. However, this law also reflects broader societal tendencies to legislate women's bodies and choices, intertwining legal, moral, and social dilemmas. Critics argue that it places undue burden on women, trapping those in untenable or abusive situations without recourse.

Impact of the Law on Women

The law's ramifications for pregnant women are profound and multifaceted. By prohibiting divorce proceedings during pregnancy, women are forced to remain legally bound to partners, even in cases of domestic violence or irreconcilable differences. This section will use personal stories and available statistics to paint a vivid picture of the law's impact, highlighting the critical intersection with women's health care, autonomy, and safety.

supportive circle of women standing outside capital building

Ashley Aune's Advocacy and HB 2402

In response to the pressing need for reform, Rep. Ashley Aune has become a vocal advocate for women's rights, pushing for legislative change through HB 2402. This segment will delve into Aune's motivations, the legislative journey of HB 2402, and the anticipated benefits of allowing pregnant women the freedom to divorce, emphasizing a movement towards greater autonomy and respect for women's decisions.

Statistical Importance and Public Opinion

While the exact number of women affected by this law annually remains challenging to pinpoint, this section will present available data to underscore the importance of HB 2402. Additionally, public opinion polls and quotes will be used to demonstrate the growing consensus for reform, reflecting a societal shift towards valuing women's rights and autonomy.

pregnant women silhoutte


The initiative to allow pregnant women in Missouri to legally obtain a divorce represents a critical step forward in the ongoing struggle for women's rights and autonomy. HB 2402 not only challenges outdated norms but also highlights the importance of legislative advocacy in achieving tangible change. This concluding section will reiterate the bill's significance and call on readers to support this and similar movements, advocating for a more equitable and just society.

Join the movement for change. Learn more and see how you can help.

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