Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens spoke out against the new St. Louis “abortion sanctuary city” ordinance over the weekend, saying it does not reflect the state’s values.
“We need to send a clear message: the people of Missouri do not support Abortion Sanctuary Cities,” Greitens wrote Saturday on Facebook. “We will fight for the vulnerable to get the support they need in tough times—we will proudly stand up for life.”
Supporters of St. Louis City Board Bill 203 say the measure protects women from discrimination based on their reproductive health decisions involving pregnancy, contraception, abortion and infertility treatments. The city aldermen passed the ordinance earlier this month.
Opponents say it would force religious organizations and individuals to support abortion and abortion advocacy. According to Missouri Right to Life, the new ordinance could force landlords to rent property to abortion providers or abortion advocacy groups, and punish employers (including religious organizations) that refuse to hire someone who publicly supports abortion.
Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis lawyer Tom Buckley previously told the city that the bill violates the U.S. Constitution, and the archdiocese likely will challenge it in a lawsuit.
Gov. Greitens pointed out Saturday that the new ordinance also could hurt pregnancy resource centers that offer support to pregnant and parenting moms and babies, KMOV News 4 reports.
This bill attacks clinics that help women. “Alternatives to Abortion” clinics are non-profits that provide women with counsel, support, and resources. What they don’t do is advocate for abortion. In our budget, we provided $6 million for these clinics, based on the important work they do to help women.
Now St. Louis liberals and the National Abortion Rights Action League are trying to undermine and destroy them. This is serious. We’re working with legislators, faith leaders, women’s advocates, and anyone who values life to fight back against this Abortion Sanctuary City movement. There’s a lot that we can do to fight this—and we’ll need your help in doing so.
Lawmakers in the state already have started to fight it. State Rep. Phil Christofanelli filed a bill Tuesday to strike down the “abortion sanctuary city” ordinance, St. Louis Public Radio reports.
“The fundamental role of government is to protect life, and that includes the lives of the unborn,” Christofanelli said. “St. Louis has failed in government’s chief design through an awful and ill-advised ordinance that would force pro-life property owners to accommodate abortion facilities.”
A spokesperson from the pro-abortion group NARAL, which supports the ordinance, blasted Christofanelli’s bill as a “sad attempt to control women.”
But Missouri Right to Life President Steve Rupp said the city ordinance clearly discriminates against pro-lifers’ beliefs and religious freedom.
“(St. Louis) civic leaders have taken every citizen into the business of protecting abortion,” Rupp said. “This action betrays the fine history of this state, betrays the many citizens in the St. Louis area and across the state who are proud of and love St. Louis and love to spend time there with friends and family.”