Onder details the need for urgency regarding special session on abortion


ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Sen. Bob Onder made an appearance on the June 11 epsiode of This Week in Missouri Politics to speak about the bill he and other legislators will be promoting during the upcoming special session called by Gov. Eric Greitens.

Greitens’ call asks the General Assembly to essentially void a St. Louis ordinance that Onder says will allow the city to become an “abortion sanctuary city.” The ordinance would protect women who are pregnant or have had abortion from discrimination in housing and employment, but opponents say it could infringe on the religious liberties of employers and renters who oppose abortion. Along with that, the General Assembly will look at rules and regulations for abortion providers, women’s health and alternatives to abortion.
While some critics have questioned the need for a special session, Onder said it was imperative to deal with this new law as quickly as possible.
“I believe we need a special session for a couple of reasons, one is that pregnancy care centers in Missouri, especially the city of St. Louis are under attack,” Onder said. “A pregnancy care center is really there to help women choose life for their unborn child.”

According to Onder, due to this ordinance, pregnancy care centers will be forced to hire abortion advocates or be accused of discrimination against people with pro-choice opinions or not paying for abortion as part of their health care and possibly sued over real estate. Because of this law, many pregnancy care centers and anti-abortion advocates, such as the Archdiocese of St. Louis, have decided to sue the city.

“The abortion sanctuary city law is a very radical, left, national agenda item and no one should be surprised that the Missouri legislature is going to stand by pregnancy care centers,” Onder said.

“Onder also brought up aspects that led to the ordinance such as the striking down of “common sense” regulations by an unelected federal judge that in past have governed how clinics operate.

We’ve essentially created a regulatory desert, where your flu shot kiosk can be regulated but a clinic that does invasive surgical procedures cannot be,” Onder said. “So we need to restore and propose some common sense health and safety regulations to protect Missouri women and that will be part of the call and part of the bill next week as well.”

The senator noted the protection women’s health and safety as well as pregnancy care centers was a priority, and he added when special sessions need to be called if the situation is urgent. Onder did note that a federal court ruling which undid several Missouri abortion laws added to the urgency of the session.

“The final federal court ruling was only on May 2 and the lawsuit, which I think pointed out to a lot of us just how dangerous is abortion sanctuary city ordinance is, was filed on May 22,” Onder said. “So it is urgent, it is new. We can’t wait a whole year to protect the safety of women. So I think, clearly, the special session on the issue of life does rise to that level of importance.”