New bill could use pandemic relief funds to help St. Louisians access abortions outside Missouri

Published: Jun. 26, 2022 at 10:15 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) - On the day the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, St. Louis aldermen introduced a bill to provide funding for increased access to abortion services.

Board Bill 61 would create the Reproductive Equity Fund. It would allocate $1 million from the ARPA funds for grants to provide funding for logistical support like transportation, lodging or childcare.

“We started working on this a while,” said Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia, a co-sponsor of the bill.

After the Supreme Court ruling, Missouri banned all abortions except in the case of a medical emergency. But abortions remain legal in Illinois.

Ingrassia says this bill is one step they can take to help St. Louisans access care across the river.

“I’m hopeful this can be a model for other local governments in Missouri and across the country,” she said.

If you attempt to make an appointment for an abortion at Planned Parenthood, it directs you to the closest clinic in Fairview Heights, a roughly 30-minute drive from the City of St. Louis. The latest CDC data on abortions is from 2019. That year there were 1,471 reported abortions in Missouri. Illinois reported 46,517 in the same year. In Illinois, 16 percent were obtained by out-of-state residents.

Ingrassia says they hope to vote and act on this bill by mid-July. The St. Louis City Health Department would be in charge of allocating the grant funds.