Ordinance puts special protections on abortion
With a 17-10 vote, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen passed a bill on February 10 that prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy or a person’s “reproductive decisions,” a code phrase for abortion – meaning abortion would be considered a protected class equal to race.
Missouri Right to Life president Steve Rupp tells OneNewsNow that under the ordinance, a business or church that operates within city limits would have to provide for abortion services in insurance plans.
He explains also that if landlords cite religious convictions as reason for refusing to lease space for an abortion facility, “they can be fined [under] this bill and even go to jail, which is incredible.” Fines would apply as well to Catholic schools that fail to hire teachers who publicly promote abortion.
It would also impact pro-life counselors on sidewalks outside abortion clinics who want to convince women not to abort their children. Rupp argues that it removes conscience rights and intrudes on free exercise of religion.
“One of the aldermen said this is a law in search of a problem that doesn’t exist,” Rupp notes. “There has never been any example of it being an issue. They couldn’t provide any examples of any discrimination. So they’re creating a bill to address an issue that literally doesn’t exist.”
The new law is ripe for a court challenge, says the pro-life spokesman, but it has also caught the attention of state lawmakers who are discussing whether the state can take some kind of action to deal with it. HB 174, currently making its way through the Missouri General Assembly, would protect pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes, churches, and Christian schools and businesses from being forced to participate in, refer for, or be involved in any way in abortion.
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