St. Louis Officials Want It to Be a “Sanctuary City” Where Women Can Easily Get Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Dec 28, 2016   |   6:58PM   |   St. Louis, Missouri

Fearing that overturning Roe v. Wade could be a real possibility, abortion advocates in St. Louis want to make the city a “sanctuary” for abortions.

St. Louis Public Radio reports two St. Louis aldermen announced Tuesday their plans to introduce a new measure that would add “reproductive health decisions,” including abortion, in the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance.

The Missouri affiliate of NARAL is backing the measure. NARAL is a radical abortion group that supports abortion for any reason through all nine months of pregnancy and fights against parental involvement requirements for minors, informed consent, pregnancy centers that offer women alternatives to abortion and more.

“We are a board of people who are very aware of the challenges for women that are being brought forth at both the state and national level. And so it’s up to us at the local level to really ensure that women’s rights are protected,” said Alderman Megan-Ellyia Green, a Democrat from the 15th Ward.

Alderman Christine Ingrassia, a Democrat from the 6th Ward, introduced two additional measures: one that would establish a buffer zone around the St. Louis Planned Parenthood abortion facility, and another that would make disturbances at abortion facilities a violation of city law, according to the report.

The aldermen said they plan to introduce the legislation when the board returns from its winter break. They also said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay appears to support the measures.

After Donald Trump won the election, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced similar plans to make his city a “sanctuary” for abortion. His plans came in response to Trump’s promises to nominate “pro-life” justices to the Supreme Court. Abortion advocates are worried because there is a possibility that Trump could nominate several justices during his term who potentially could reverse the four-decade-old abortion ruling.

“I think a lot of the [abortion] clinics would probably look to cities like Boston to come to, safe cities, cities that are open and progressive and understand the importance of having access,” Walsh told Herald Radio in November. “That is something I am sure we will be focusing on as we move forward in the next weeks and months.

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“The Supreme Court itself – we could have a conservative Supreme Court for the next 30 years. The world is going to change a lot in the next 30 years and to have a court that has a mindset in the ’50s is not a good thing,” Walsh added later in the interview.

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe, abortions would not become illegal immediately. Instead, the power to regulate abortions would return to the states – something Trump mentioned during an interview with 60 Minutes on CBS in November.

Trump told CBS that if Roe is overturned, women who live in states that prohibit abortions could travel to other states that allow them.

Mayor Walsh called the idea “absurd.”

Here’s more from the Boston Herald:

Asked what he could do currently as mayor to protect women’s reproductive rights, Walsh said, “Working with the legislature to make sure the laws don’t get weakened. Working with health centers to make sure that, if there’s there’s threats of cutting back federal funding to those health centers for any type of reproductive rights, working with all the health centers in the city of Boston to make sure there is an open-door policy.

“We have it now, but whatever we can do, making sure our public health commissioner is on top of the issue as well,” the mayor added. “I think that’s what the next step would be. There are some folks in the Republican Party who would like to end federal funding into the states.”

Previously when Trump was asked if Roe v. Wade would be overturned by judges he would appoint, Trump said that would be the case.

“Well, if that would happen because I am pro-life, and I will be appointing pro-life judges,” Trump said. “Well if we put another two or perhaps three justices on that’s really what’s going to be — that will happen. It’ll happen automatically in my opinion because I am putting pro-life justices on the court.”

But in the 60 Minutes interview after the election, Trump noted that it could be a long time before Roe is overturned.

“Well, we’ll see what happens,” he said. “It’s got a long way to go, just so you understand. That has a long, long way to go.”