Today, Governor Eric Greitens announced his plan to call the legislature back for a special session to protect the lives of the innocent unborn and protect women's health. The session will focus on protecting pregnancy resource centers and proposals for common-sense health and safety standards in abortion clinics.
Governor Greitens explained his announcement in a Facebook video, stating:
“I'm pro-life, and I believe that we need to defend life and promote a culture of life here in the state of Missouri.
For me, that comes from the work I've done. I've worked with kids in Cambodia who'd lost limbs to land mines and who were survivors of polio. Children of the street in Bolivia, and children who were orphaned because of war and genocide.
I also saw the value of true love and compassion in one of Mother Theresa's homes for the destitute and dying. I saw the power of faith leaders who stood up and affirmed that every life had value and worth.
Our faith community and volunteers do incredible work to support people in need. And there's few finer examples than the work pregnancy care centers do across our state.
These charitable organizations and community groups work with pregnant women and new moms. They offer newborn children food and clothing, offer free pre-natal care and ultrasounds, and help find women find housing and even pay for utilities. They help with adoption when needed, and protect women from domestic abuse. They even do job training and help women find jobs to support their new families.
In the city of St. Louis, some of these pregnancy care centers are under attack. There's a new city law making St. Louis an abortion sanctuary city—where pregnancy care centers can't work the way they're supposed to. Politicians are trying to make it illegal, for example, for pro-life organizations to say that they just want to hire pro-life Missourians.
The Senate had a bill to address this during the session—but they failed to act. We're calling a special session to support the people doing this vital work to help women and children.
I also believe that we should have common-sense health and safety standards in all medical facilities. A court decision from earlier this year weakened our state's health standards in abortion clinics. So, we're also proposing some basic, common-sense standards to keep Missourians safe.
We're proposing, for example, that abortion clinics should have an annual safety inspection.
We're proposing that these clinics should have a plan for complications.
And we're proposing a fix that will stop abortion clinics from interfering with emergency responders. If a woman needs help, abortion clinics shouldn't be able to tell an ambulance to come slowly--to not use their lights and sirens--or to go around to the back gate, just because they are worried that an ambulance arriving might make their abortion clinic look bad.
I'm proud to support life—the lives of mothers, their children, and the innocent unborn. It's an honor to serve you, have a great day and God Bless.”
The announcement of this special session has been praised by pro-life and faith leaders from around the state.
“Gov. Greitens won the Governor’s race having made a strong commitment to pro-life initiatives and now, he’s working to deliver on those promises. We thank him for calling back the Missouri state legislature to address the health and safety of women inside abortion facilities and to undo the chilling action taken by the city of St. Louis to declare the city an ‘abortion sanctuary,’” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “The Greitens administration recently moved to enforce a longstanding law requiring abortion businesses to report abortion emergencies resulting in women being removed from the facility by ambulance. Local pro-life activists in St. Louis have observed women being taken away by ambulance at least 66 times since 2009. Clearly, Gov. Greitens understands the urgency here and that the lives of women and children are on the line. We urge the state legislature to address these matters quickly.”
“Missouri Right to Life is grateful for Governor Greitens and his commitment to protecting women and unborn babies. Governor Greitens has made a call for special session that would allow legislators to pass a life-saving bill to protect women, unborn babies and reaffirm our religious liberties so that Pregnancy Resource Centers and Faith Communities from all denominations are not forced to participate in abortion. While these bills failed to pass during the regular session, Governor Greitens has stepped forward to bring them back for passage by the pro-life majorities in our House and Senate. We look forward to working with Governor Greitens and the legislature during this special call to session,” said Susan Klein, Legislative Liaison for Missouri Right to Life.
“This is an appropriate action by Governor Greitens. It is urgently needed because the lives of innocent children are at stake and cannot wait for the next regular session. It is prudently needed as a matter of precedence that municipalities should not be attempting to thwart constitutionally guaranteed liberties,” said Dr. John Yeats, executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention, the state’s largest non-Catholic religious body.
“We are very grateful that Governor Greitens has called lawmakers back into special session to protect Missouri’s pro-life maternity homes and pregnancy resource centers from being forced to participate in abortion,” said Samuel Lee, director of Campaign Life Missouri and a long-time pro-life advocate at the State Capitol. “It was unconscionable for the City of St. Louis to pass an ordinance that could impose jail time on directors of alternatives-to-abortion agencies who decline to pay for employee abortions, or to impose fines on pregnancy center operators who refuse to hire “pro-choice” employees who would end up referring clients for abortions. Based on the votes during the regular session, we know that state lawmakers overwhelmingly support protecting the conscience rights of pregnancy centers and faith-based organizations, and ending the madness caused by abortion advocates in St. Louis.”
The special legislative session will begin on Monday, June 12th.