Congresswoman Bush Statement Following Missouri’s Execution of Amber McLaughlin
Washington, D.C. (Jan. 3, 2023) — Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01) released the following statement after Amber McLaughlin was executed by the state of Missouri.
“Amber McLaughlin was killed by state-sanctioned, inhumane capital punishment. My heart is with her family and loved ones,” said Congresswoman Bush. “I yearn for the day when our society acknowledges that state-sanctioned murder will never achieve justice. Governor Parson has once again failed his mandate as Governor to save lives. He has actively chosen violence over mercy and as a result, only three days into the new year, our state has killed yet another person. The death penalty is archaic, barbaric, and cold-hearted; it destroys families and communities, and its abolition is long overdue. There are more individuals who are set to be scheduled by the state of Missouri. We must not allow another life to be taken.”
Ms. McLaughlin was sentenced to death by a judge despite a jury failing to unanimously agree to impose such a sentence. Ms. McLaughlin also faced a traumatic childhood filled with horrendous abuse, and suffered from mental health issues throughout her life. Yet at the sentencing phase of her trial, the jury never heard crucial mental health evidence because her lawyers failed to present it.
Last week, Congresswoman Bush and Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II (MO-05) sent a letter to Missouri Governor Mike Parson urging him to halt the execution of Ms. McLaughlin by granting clemency. Governor Parson denied this request. Missouri executed Ms. McLaughlin at 6:51 PM CT. The execution marked the state’s first use of the death penalty on a woman since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976, and the first execution of an openly transgender perso U.S. history. The state is set to execute at least one more individual in the coming months.
Since first coming to Congress, Congresswoman Bush has been a national leader in the push for clemency reform and death penalty abolition. In February 2021, the Congresswoman urged President Biden to use his pardon power to correct legacies of injustice in the clemency process, including by commuting the sentences of every person on federal death row. In December 2021, Congresswoman Bush, alongside Representatives Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), introduced the Fair and Independent Experts in Clemency (FIX Clemency) Act, historic legislation that would transform our nation’s broken clemency system and address the growing mass incarceration crisis. She also proudly cosponsored the Federal Death Penalty Prohibition Act, which would have ended the federal government’s use of the death penalty.
Congresswoman Cori Bush sits on the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, serves as the Progressive Caucus Deputy Whip, and proudly represents St. Louis as a politivist in the halls of the United States Congress.