St. Louis joins other cities like Boston that are vowing to protect and expand women’s reproductive rights and services in the wake of the recent election.
Two St. Louis alderwomen announced last week their plans to introduce new initiatives aimed at turning the city into a sanctuary for women’s reproductive rights.
The measures are supported by the Missouri affiliate of NARAL Pro-Choice America, an organization “dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom for all Americans. NARAL works to guarantee that every woman has the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion.“
In making the announcement, Alderwoman Megan-Ellyia Green, a Democrat from the city’s 15th Ward, stated “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.”
St. Louis Public Radio reports that “Green is the lead sponsor of a measure that would add pregnancy and ‘reproductive health decisions’ — using birth control or having an abortion, for example — to the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance. Employers would also be blocked from firing, demoting or cutting the pay of an employee based on a decision about her health.”
When the Board of Aldermen returns from its winter break, Alderman Christine Ingrassia, D-6th Ward, said she plans to introduce legislation that would establish a buffer zone around the entrance to the Planned Parenthood clinic on Forest Park Parkway. The language would be modeled both on a Colorado law that creates a floating buffer zone, and on a Massachusetts law that replaced an earlier version that was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“We’ve had some troubling incidents here at the Planned Parenthood clinic on Forest Park Parkway. We’re hoping that we can prevent any further issues by having this buffer zone. Right now, when you walk into or drive into the Planned Parenthood clinic, the people who are there demonstrating are right at your car window, right in your face, sometimes being very hostile,” Ingrassia is quoted as saying by St. Louis Public Radio.
The efforts by both alderwomen are expected to receive the full support of Democratic Mayor Francis Slay.
Similar efforts were announced by Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh shortly after the election as a response to Trump’s promise to appoint pro-life justices to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“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 stated in a November interview with the Boston Herald, adding that “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.”