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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Missouri's Gov. Eric Greitens has called a special session of the legislature to work on abortion regulations that'll counter a local St. Louis ordinance, he said, that made it an "abortion sanctuary city."
Making the announcement Wednesday, Greitens said the special pro-life session will convene this coming Monday. Along with countering the pro-abortion ordinance in St. Louis, Republicans will also be seeking stricter regulations on abortion clinics such as mandating annual inspections and insuring that clinics provide contingency plans for medical complications should they arise. This second issue arose from a federal judge's ruling in April that blocked requirements, demanding abortion mills meet minimum health standards and have hospital admitting privileges established.
The governor emphasised that he'd wanted the pro-abortion ordinance in St. Louis addressed during the regular session, but Missouri's legislative session ended in May without resolving the issue. Therefore, he was calling for a special session to convene next week to work on the problem.
The ordinance in St. Louis was enacted in February. In January, Abp. Robert Carlson of St. Louis, warned
the city council that the archdiocese wouldn't obey the ordinance as it would force Catholics to become accomplices in the sin of abortion and contraception.
In a statement January 10, Abp. Carlson described
the "terrible consequences" Catholic institutions would suffer as a result of the ordinance proposed by the St. Louis city council or the Board of Alderman. "[A] Catholic school or Catholic Charities agency could be fined by the City of St. Louis for not employing persons who publicly promote practices such as abortion," said the archbishop. "In addition, our Catholic institutions could be fined for not including coverage for abortion in their insurance plans."
The archbishop further noted how the proposed ordinance — Board Bill 203
— would "force the people of St. Louis to be complicit" in procuring abortions. "Board Bill 203 could also allow the City of St. Louis to fine landlords and others who do not want to rent to or be associated with the abortion industry," he said.
Board Bill 203, filed by Alderwoman Megan Green last December, added
"persons or entities" who make "reproductive health decisions" favoring abortion and contraception to the city's 2006 anti-discrimination law. The legislation protects such individuals or groups from so-called discrimination by employers or landlords based on "any decision related to the use or intended use of a particular drug, device or medical service, including the use or intended use of contraception or fertility control or the planned or intended initiation or termination of a pregnancy."
The bill doesn't provide an exemption for individuals, churches or religious organizations. In his statement, Abp. Carlson called
the ordinance a "flagrant violation of religious liberty and individual rights of conscience." He added that ordinances should give due consideration to everyone. "City ordinances should respect all people, including women facing unplanned pregnancies, unborn children and people who desire to live their lives in accordance with their religious convictions."
Archbishop Carlson was adamant
that Catholics under his care wouldn't cooperate with the proposed ordinance should it become law:
As the shepherd of the faithful Catholics of this region, let me be clear that the archdiocese of St. Louis cannot and will not comply with any ordinance like Board Bill 203 that attempts to force the Church and others to become unwilling participants in the abortion business. There is no room for compromise on such a matter.
Speaking of this ordinance in his statement Wednesday, Gov. Greitens iterated
, "The Senate had a bill to address this during the session — but they failed to act. We're calling a special session to support the people doing this vital work to help women and children."
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