Missouri attorney general sues St. Louis for allocating funds to support access to out-of-state abortions

After the High Court ruling on June 24, St. Louis city officials passed a bill to create the Reproductive Equity Fund to provide what it describes as “logistical support” to people seeking to abort.

This support includes, but is not limited to, funding for childcare, transportation, and other needs, depending on the measure.

“The abortion ban hurts workers who cannot afford childcare, a hotel, or time off work because they need access to health care. abortion,” St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones said Thursday as he signed the bill into law.

After the bill was signed into law, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt sued the city, arguing that the measure violated state law.

“By administering this fund, public employees will assist or encourage abortion by processing requests for public funds to cover costs incurred in obtaining abortions,” Schmitt said in a written statement.

The city’s bill specifically prohibits the money from being used to fund abortion procedures or to counsel a woman to have an abortion. The bill uses federal dollars from the US bailout — a huge Covid-19 economic relief package signed by President Joe Biden in March 2021.

In addition to the $1 million for abortion logistics support, the bill sets aside an additional $500,000 for other types of reproductive health care, including access to doulas and lactation support.

The measure seeks to affirm residents’ rights “to maintain personal bodily autonomy, to make personal decisions about if, when and how to start a family, including decisions about abortion,” according to its text.

The Attorney General also filed a preliminary injunction requesting that St. Louis not create the Reproductive Equity Fund.

Schmitt had threatened to press charges before the bill was signed on Thursday, but the mayor was undeterred.

“I will not back down when our adversaries threaten, intimidate or demean our city,” the mayor said, “especially the attorney general, who is more concerned with pursuing influence than healing.”

CNN has reached out to city of St. Louis officials for comment on the lawsuit.

CNN’s Tina Burnside contributed to this report.

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