ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Today, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit and a motion for preliminary injunction against the City of St. Louis after the signing of Board Bill 61, which authorizes federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to provide “logistical support” for abortion, including travel expenses and other costs of obtaining out-of-state abortions. The lawsuit argues that the City’s “Reproductive Equity Fund” plainly violates § 188.205, RSMo, which reads, “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.”
“As Attorney General, I’ve tirelessly fought to uphold the sanctity of life in Missouri. The move by the City of St. Louis to use taxpayer dollars to help push out-of-state abortions plainly and clearly violates Missouri law,” said Attorney General Schmitt
. “My Office today filed suit to put a stop to Mayor Jones and the City of St. Louis Board of Aldermen’s blatantly illegal move to spend Missourians’ hard-earned tax dollars on out-of-state abortions.”
On July 15, 2022, the St. Louis City Board of Aldermen passed Board Bill 61 (BB61), which established a “Reproductive Equity Fund” funded by $1.5 million in ARPA funds. As the lawsuit states, “Of that $1.5 million, $1 million in the Reproductive Equity Fund ‘provide[s] access to abortion through logistical support including but not limited to the funding of childcare, transportation, and other logistical support needs.’” The other $500,000 shall be available to assist in providing “reproductive healthcare access,” which also evidently includes abortion.
The lawsuit says, “The City’s use of public funds, public employees, and public facilities to encourage and assist abortion violates the Missouri General Assembly’s determination 'that the state and all of its political subdivisions are a ‘sanctuary of life’ that protects pregnant women and their unborn children.'” § 188.010(2), RSMo.
Further, the lawsuit notes, “Section 188.210 also makes it unlawful for any public-employee doctors, nurses or other health care personnel, social workers, counselors, or persons of similar occupation, acting within the scope of public employment, to encourage or counsel elective abortion. BB61 requires City employees in its Department of Health to create and manage the Reproductive Equity Fund. In managing that fund, public employees will be assisting or encouraging abortion by processing claims for public funds to cover costs incurred in obtaining abortions.”
The lawsuit, filed this afternoon, incorporates four counts: (1) Unlawful Use of Public Funds, (2) Unlawful Activity by Public Employees, (3) Unlawful Use of Public Facilities, and (4) The City’s Policy is Preempted by State Law.
The lawsuit can be found here: https://ago.mo.gov/docs/default-source/press-releases/2022-07-21---petition---final.pdf?sfvrsn=ec0f20cb_2
The motion for preliminary injunction can be found here: https://ago.mo.gov/docs/default-source/press-releases/2022-07-21---motion-for-preliminary-injunction---final.pdf?sfvrsn=68a7e5e3_2