The St. Louis County Council voted last night against a bill that would have secured $1.25 million in funds for abortion access.
Sponsored by Councilwoman Lisa Clancy, D-5th District, federal pandemic aid would have been used to assist pregnant people traveling out-of-state to receive an abortion, as well as help parents amid the infant-formula shortage. St. Louis County Executive Sam Page had also voiced his support for the fund in previous weeks.
The measure failed in a 4-3 vote. Shalonda Webb, D-4th District, joined the council’s Republican members in voting no, citing her opposition against using public funds “to support activities that [are] not for the public as a whole.” Clancy, Councilwoman Rita Heard Days, D-1st District, and Councilwoman Kelli Dunaway, D-2nd District, voted for the measure.
Republicans on the council, however, said the bill was illegal and would meet a challenge from Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt if passed. Schmitt has renewed threats against the city for a similar bill recently passed out of the Board of Aldermen.
Clancy told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Wednesday that she’s disappointed the bill didn’t pass, but she’s considering resubmitting the same bill or seeking funding outside of federal aid dollars. She told them that reproductive justice is a “priority” and that she’s “evaluating all options.”
The abortion fund created by the St. Louis city bill will cover travel and childcare costs.
Missouri’s abortion ban took place on June 24, the same day that Roe v. Wade was overturned. It was the first state to issue a so-called trigger ban, with exceptions only for medical emergencies. Illinois is currently the closest state where pregnant people can receive an abortion.