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How St. Louis tapped federal funds to help people travel who need abortions

ST. LOUIS – An ordinance that taps federal funding to connect city residents with logistical help in accessing abortion services, as well as doula, postpartum and lactation support, was signed into law Thursday morning by city mayor Tishaura Jones.

“Today, St. Louis is taking decisive action, showing our state — and our entire country — we will not stop fighting to protect access to reproductive health care,” Jones said. “The Reproductive Equity Fund will empower St. Louisans to make the best health care decisions for themselves and their communities, while addressing the disparities exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis.”

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit against the city Thursday afternoon, calling the bill a violation of Missouri law.

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“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,” Schmitt said.

Missouri banned nearly all abortions, including in cases of rape or incest, on the same day as the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Some Missourians protested, some celebrated and others shifted their focus to how to help people seeking reproductive health care in a state where inducing one could be prosecuted as a class B felony.

That day, June 24, St. Louis Alderwoman Annie Rice also introduced her bill to use American Rescue Plan Act funds to launch a Reproductive Equity Fund in St. Louis, a move she said was a larger and “long-time effort that has been in the works” well before the fall of Roe.

“Abortion has been nearly inaccessible in Missouri for a very long time now and we’ve pretty much only had medication abortions provided at the

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