By Nancy Valko
Editor’s note: Boston Mayor Marty Walsh recently proposed that Boston could become a “safe haven” for abortion. While no legislation has been proposed yet, this is an example of what we could face.
The St. Louis Planned Parenthood became the last abortion clinic in Missouri in November, 2015 after an abortionist lost her “refer and follow” hospital admitting privileges in Columbia, Mo.
Now two St. Louis aldermen in partnership with NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri started an effort in December 2016 to “make the city a sanctuary for reproductive rights”, i.e. abortion, by adding “reproductive health decisions” to the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance.
Their new bill, BB 203, adds “reproductive health decisions”, defined as “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” to the already protected categories of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin or ancestry, or legal source of income.
Penalties under the current Civil Rights Enforcement Agency ordinance include up to $500 in fines and up to 90 days in jailbut already a veteran pro-life activist at the clinic was arrested on New Year’s Eve morning at the clinic and charged with alleged “domestic terrorism”.
In addition, as Samuel Lee of Campaign Life Missouri points out, “There are no exemptions for churches, religious organization, or for any person with a conscientious objection.”
Furthermore, he lists some possible acts that could be considered unlawful “discrimination” if BB 203 becomes law:
- A Catholic hospital refusing to lease medical office space to a doctor who wants to perform abortions.
- A doctors’ medical group rejecting as an employee, a physician who wants to prescribe abortion pills to his or her patients.
- A property owner declining to lease office space to the CEO of Planned Parenthood.
- The Archdiocese of St. Louis or Catholic Charities (at least as applied to their City of St. Louis employees), failing to include in their employees’ health benefit plans, coverage for abortion (at any time for any reason throughout pregnancy), contraception, sterilization or artificial reproduction.
- A pastor in a pro-life church demoting or reassigning the youth minister because he encouraged and paid for his girlfriend’s abortion, because that is an “adverse employment action” (as defined in the bill) against the employee.
- A maternity home, pregnancy resource center, Catholic Charities agency, etc., firing a counselor or social worker who referred a client for an abortion.
- A mom or dad denying parental consent for their minor daughter to get an abortion, because the parent would be “interfer[ing] with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of his having exercised or enjoyed, rights granted and protected by this ordinance.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, Planned Parenthood’s new efforts to pass such an ordinance come after much bad publicity for the St. Louis Planned Parenthood clinic, including multiple safety violations discovered by Operation Rescue and 60 ambulance responses to the Planned Parenthood clinic since 2009 and observed by pro-life activists at the clinic.
Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis is also speaking out against BB 203 and states 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.”
Instead, Archbishop Carlson proposes that “St. Louis should be a sanctuary for life and compassion, especially compassion for mothers and their developing children.”
We must continue to challenge Planned Parenthood’s desperate efforts to shield its abortion business whenever and wherever such efforts occur.