Sanctuary! Sanctuary!

Missouri now has its first “sanctuary city” for abortion. On Monday, February 13, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay signed into law a new ordinance (Board Bill 203) that purports to protect people against discrimination, though in fact, it authorizes discrimination against people who refuse to aid and abet the abortion industry.

In the upside down logic of NARAL and other pro-abortion activists, a “sanctuary” is no longer a sacred place to flee to for safety, but a place where killing unborn children is not only legal, as it is now under federal law, but even a place that requires people who morally object to abortion to assist the abortion industry.

The ordinance is clearly intended to intimidate those who oppose abortion and don’t want to assist the abortion industry. The language is vague and ambiguous, but despite the claims of abortion activists to the contrary, a fair reading of the ordinance suggests several disturbing consequences:

  • A landlord could be fined for refusing to rent to an abortion facility or to an abortion advocacy group like NARAL;
  • A religious school could be fined if it chooses not to hire a teacher who publicly promotes abortion; and,
  • Employers who do not include abortion coverage in their health insurance plans could be subject to lawsuits from persons claiming discrimination against their “reproductive rights.”

Some of the provisions of the ordinance may run afoul of state and federal laws and could be overturned later by court rulings. But why is the City of St. Louis even going down this road? Why cram a pro-abortion agenda down the throat of citizens, many of whom view abortion as a profound evil? Why pass such an ordinance when it addresses no problem, but instead creates division and confusion, further impeding positive efforts to renew the social and economic vitality of St. Louis?

Tragic ironies abound. Abortion activists want to turn the meaning of the word “sanctuary” on its head. The word is derived from late Latin and refers to a sacred place. In the Middle Ages, people could claim sanctuary in a Church after committing a violent crime. Once protected, the person donned sackcloth and made a confession of his or her crime. Within 40 days, the person had to “abjure the realm,” leaving the country for a new land. A sanctuary, in others words, was a safe place; it was a place of refuge where a person could start a new life.

Now, under its new meaning, a sanctuary becomes an abortion clinic and the city surrounding it. Because abortion is legal under federal law, citizens under the new ordinance are expected to not only recognize abortion’s legal status, but to pay homage to the abortion industry by actively assisting in its work. This is a very illiberal position for people who consider themselves liberals. In fact, this ordinance seeks to repress the views of those who find abortion a profound evil.

When cities become intolerant of the rights of their own citizens, it is time for the state of Missouri to provide relief. Cities, after all, are political subdivisions of the state. Local ordinances should reflect the values and policies of the state of Missouri. The very first chapter of the Revised Missouri Statutes declares that: “The life of each human being begins at conception. (Section 1.205.1 (1))

Right now, the Missouri General Assembly is considering legislation (HB 174) that would overturn the St. Louis ordinance and preempt other cities from passing similar laws. The bill merits support from all who value human life and believe that citizens should not be forced to assist the abortion industry. If we wish to uphold the civil rights of citizens, to continue to have a free and just society, passage of HB 174 is imperative.

If you have not done so as yet, take action by reading this MCC Alert and contacting your State Representative immediately. For more information, please visit our website. Let’s make Missouri a sanctuary for life, not abortion!