Missouri Attorney General Sues to Stop St. Louis From Making Taxpayers Fund Out of State Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jul 22, 2022   |   4:11PM   |   Jefferson City, Missouri

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt sued the City of St. Louis on Thursday to stop tax dollars from being used to help women to travel out of state to abort their unborn babies.

Missouri protects unborn babies by banning abortions and taxpayer funding for abortions, and Schmitt said the action by St. Louis city leaders is “blatantly illegal.”

His lawsuit challenges pro-abortion Board Bill 61, which St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones signed Thursday, The Missouri Independent reports. The bill creates a Reproductive Equity Fund, run by the city health department, and allocates $1 million for “logistical support,” such as travel expenses and childcare, to help women travel to other states for abortions.

Schmitt said the legislation violates several state laws, including one that prohibits government employees, facilities and tax dollars from being used for abortions.

“As attorney general, I’ve tirelessly fought to uphold the sanctity of life in Missouri. The move by the City of St. Louis to use taxpayer dollars to help push out-of-state abortions plainly and clearly violates Missouri law,” Schmitt said.

The pro-life organization Campaign Life Missouri pointed to two state laws that prohibit the St. Louis leaders’ action.

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One is a 1986 law that prohibits the use of public funds, facilities and employees “for the purpose of performing or assisting an abortion, not necessary to save the life of the mother, or for the purpose of encouraging or counseling a woman to have an abortion not necessary to save her life.”

Additionally, a 2019 law makes clear that “the intention of the general assembly of the state of Missouri [is] to … Defend the right to life of all humans, born and unborn [and] Declare that the state and all of its political subdivisions are a ‘sanctuary of life’ that protects pregnant women and their unborn children.”

States like Missouri are protecting unborn babies from abortion for the first time in nearly 50 years after a historic ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. On June 24, the justices overturned Roe v. Wade and returned the power to legislate abortions to the states.

But the fight to protect unborn babies from abortion continues, said Samuel H. Lee of Campaign Life Missouri.

“Pro-lifers must stay vigilant to protect pregnant mothers and their unborn babies,” Lee said in an email Friday. “Pro-abortion groups are doing everything possible to force having our tax dollars being used to directly or indirectly support abortion. Citizens must elect pro-life lawmakers at every level of government if we want to enforce our pro-life laws and keep them in effect.”

Missouri is one of more than a dozen states that have laws in place to protect unborn babies from abortion, and more state are expected to enact pro-life laws in the coming weeks. However, some have been blocked by court orders. The Charlotte Lozier Institute estimates more than 110,000 unborn babies are being saved from abortion as a result of the pro-life laws currently in place.