July 7, 2017 admin

Reproductive Rights in Missouri

Camille Respess | June 30, 2017

On February 10, St. Louis passed an addition protecting reproductive health decisions to the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance with a 17-10 vote.

The ordinance, which was sponsored by 15th Ward Alderwoman  Megan Green, prevents employers and landowners in St. Louis from discriminating against women based on their reproductive choices.

Simply put, the ordinance bans discrimination of women who are pregnant, who have had abortions, or use contraceptives such as birth control.

This ordinance has received support from many organizations, including Planned Parenthood and has been endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri.

The organization published a press release to their website the same day the ordinance passed.

Alison Dreith, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, threw her support towards the city’s ordinance.

“In St. Louis, we know we’re stronger when we pull with all our weight. Yet women across our region face the prospect of being discriminated against for their personal decisions about when and if they raise a family,” Dreith said in the NARAL’s article. “NARAL Missouri applauds the Board of Aldermen for ensuring that hardworking women aren’t discriminated against in St. Louis City. NARAL will continue to work with City officials to make our city more welcoming for all women and families.”

But, there are groups challenging this ordinance.

The Lutheran Church Missouri – Synod, and Archdiocese of St. Louis are among many organizations who oppose the ordinance, citing how it forces individuals to go against their principles.

On May 22, the Archdiocese filed a lawsuit against the city’s new reproductive health decisions ordinance in hopes of having an injunction placed on the ordinance they believe goes against their religion.

In just months after this ordinance was passed in St. Louis, lawmakers in Jefferson City have gone to work to strip it down.

On June 12, Gov. Eric Greitens called for a special session, causing Missouri lawmakers to return to the Capitol in attempts of both removing St. Louis’ new ordinance, and imposing greater abortion restrictions.

The next day the Missouri Senate’s Seniors, Families and Children Committee endorsed a plan to overturn the St. Louis ordinance. Two days later, Senate Bill 5 was passed.

In mid-June the Missouri House added their opinions to the future of the St. Louis ordinance, and abortions in the state as well.

Although the House’s version of the bill is considered stricter than the Senate’s, both share the same goal of preempting the St. Louis ordinance.

An official bill has yet to make it to Greiten’s desk.

In late June, Alderwoman Green participated in St. Louis Public Radio’s Politically Speaking podcast.

Green stated her opposition to Greiten’s special session, as well as her dedication to standing up to federal attempts to act against measures she believes to be bettering St. Louis.

“I think we have a responsibility as cities to stand up and say ‘No, we cannot allow them to impose their views on us,’” Green said on the podcast. “And so, we have to continue to fight these battles at a local level.”

Lawmakers are expected to return to Jefferson City in mid-July to alter and argue the bill.

At our practice, we specialize in both employment and housing law. If you believe you have been discriminated against in the workplace or in housing, contact our experienced attorneys.

The future of this ordinance and the protection of women based on their reproductive decisions in St. Louis, and Missouri, at this time is uncertain.

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