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Missouri city signs bill to fund abortion travel assistance

ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones signed a bill Thursday to fund abortion travel assistance. As a result, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt sued the city.

Jones was joined by several aldermen and advocates in signing a bill to create the reproductive equity fund in response to Missouri’s ban on abortions.

“Abortion bans hurt the young girls who have to cross state lines to get abortion care because their state no longer makes an exception for rape or assault,” said Jones. After the bill was signed, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt immediately filed a lawsuit to block the city ordinance, which he said is plainly illegal.

“If the attorney general thinks that he knows better than St. Louisans about our rights, our doctors, our health care and our neighborhoods and our needs then I say bring it,” said Jones.

St. Louis County Council voted to defeat a similar bill.

“It’s unlawful to use tax dollars, federally and state tax dollars for any type of abortion-related services,” said St. Louis County Council member Tim Fitch.

Three Republicans and one Democrat on the county council voted against the measure. There were three Democrats who voted for it. Fitch who opposes the bill said if it passed it would set the county up for a lawsuit against Missouri Attorney General.

“They knew it would be unlawful to do it, so that money would be basically set aside and sit in the bank, said Fitch. “We wouldn’t be able to spend it on current needs that we have because that money would encumber a sitting in an account and not be able to be used because they know its unlawful to use it for that purpose.”

Fitch said he expects the council’s Democrats will sponsor another abortion travel bill.

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