ST. LOUIS, Mo. – At the final full board meeting for the 2018-2019 regular session on Friday, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen did a second read of Board Bill 212, perfected the bill and passed Resolution 225.
“St. Louis has taken two great strides towards protecting reproductive freedom,” Leah Boersig, NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri Board President, said. “Thank you to the Board of Aldermen for perfecting Board Bill 212 and passing Resolution 225 with overwhelming support.”
Board Bill 212 will be third read and up for final passage at the sine die session which will be held on April 15th.
The bill, sponsored by Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia, 6th Ward, is a crucial first step for NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri and its champions in protecting the reproductive rights of incarcerated people. The bill passed the Public Safety committee by a unanimous vote on Thursday.
“While the Missouri General Assembly actively works to pass anti-choice legislation, St. Louis has once again proved they will lead the state in protecting bodily autonomy,” Boersig said. “We look forward to working with the Board of Aldermen to continue to improve the lives of incarcerated women, including seeing the end of shackling incarcerated women during pregnancy, labor and delivery.”
Board Bill 212 aims to help protect women and infant health by ensuring quality prenatal and postpartum health care, as well as placing restrictions on the use of restraints and requiring city jails to provide tampons or pads as needed for menstruating inmates.
“Thank you to the Board for perfecting Board Bill 212,” Ingrassia said. “I commend our Corrections Commissioners, Dale Glass, and City Sheriff, Vernon Betts, on being proactive partners in this conversation and to the many advocacy groups working on these issues each day.”
Ingrassia noted she looks forward to seeing the bill passed at the April 15th session.
Many board members were added to legislation as co-sponsors, including Alderwoman Megan Green, 15th Ward; Alderwoman Pam Boyd, 27th Ward; Alderwoman Cara Spencer, 20th Ward; Alderman Shane Cohn, 25th Ward; Alderman Joe Vaccaro, 23rd Ward; Alderman Jack Coatar, 7th Ward; Alderman Terry Kennedy, 18th Ward; Alderman Larry Arnowitz, 12th Ward; Alderwoman Annie Rice, 8th Ward and Alderman Jeffery Boyd, 22nd Ward.
Resolution 225 passed on Friday 20-1. The resolution, which is sponsored by Rice, aims to call on state and national legislatures to protect abortion coverage in both private and public insurances.
“I’m thankful to my colleagues at the Board of Aldermen for continuing to support and advocate for people who can become pregnant, for families and for access to insurance coverage for the full range of healthcare services that people in our city need,” Rice said.
The resolution is also co-sponsored by Green; Ingrassia; Spencer; Alderman Dan Guenther, 9th Ward and Alderwoman Heather Navarro, 28th Ward.
NARAL reported that over 10,000 women of reproductive age in St. Louis who are enrolled in Medicaid are denied coverage for comprehensive pregnancy-related care, which includes abortion care. According to NARAL, this is because Missouri Healthnet restricts the coverage for abortion. The state’s law also bans insurance coverage of abortion on the state insurance exchange as well as in private insurance plans.