Missouri AG threatens to sue St. Louis City, County for funding abortion travel

(Jeff Roberson | AP)
Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 10:28 AM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial ruling that overturned the Roe v. Wade, local leaders have vowed to protect abortion rights in Missouri.

Missouri banned all abortions except in the case of a medical emergency but abortions remain legal in Illinois. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt called it “unlawful” that municipalities, like Kansas City, St. Louis City and St. Louis County, aim to use taxpayers’ dollars to fund abortion.

“Using hard-earned taxpayer dollars, whether it be ARPA funds or other forms of revenue, to fund abortions is plainly illegal under Missouri law. St. Louis City and County, and Kansas City, and any others who attempt to authorize taxpayer-funded abortions will be met with a lawsuit from the Missouri Attorney General’s Office,” Schmitt’s office said in a statement.

He continued, “It shall be unlawful for any public funds to be expended 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.”

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page supported a proposal to set aside $1 million in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to help pay travel expenses for women leaving Missouri to get an abortion. The idea was first proposed by Councilwoman Lisa Clancy.

“This is about protecting health and welfare women in St. Louis County are facing some very difficult decisions in their lives moving forward because of this Supreme Court decision,” said Page.

Page said the money would be used for transportation and childcare and that none would be used for abortions or counseling a woman about an abortion.

In addition, St. Louis City alderman introduced Board Bill 61 which will allocate $1 million from the ARPA funds for grants to provide funding for logistical support like transportation, lodging or childcare. In response to Friday’s statement, St. Louis Mayor Tishuara Jones’ Office released the following statement:

Schmitt’s spokesman referred News 4 to a rebuttal tweet he put out Friday.