Republican Governor Eric Greitens has called a special session to ask lawmakers to consider blocking a St. Louis ordinance that bans employers from penalizing or firing women who have had an abortion, are pregnant out of marriage or use contraceptives. Pro-choice advocates say not supporting the ordinance is like supporting discrimination. Greitens tells Missourinet that he disagrees.

Gov. Greitens

Greitens says his call aims to protect pregnancy care centers, which he says help women and their newborn kids receive quality clothing, food and access to free prenatal care, with employment and their utility bills. He says the ordinance makes it more difficult for the centers to operate.

“They (ordinance supporters) wanted, for example, to make it illegal for pregnancy care centers to say that they just wanted to hire pro-life people,” says Greitens.

Critics say the governor is wasting valuable tax dollars by calling a special session to get his own agenda items passed. Greitens says abortion issues he wants the Missouri Legislature to pass rise to the level of a special session because of a recent federal court ruling that struck down abortion clinic regulations. He says he wants common sense health and safety standards at such clinics.

In April, U.S. District Court Judge Howard Sachs blocked laws that require doctors performing abortions to have hospital privileges and that make abortion clinics meet hospital-like standards for surgical centers.

Greitens wants lawmakers to require annual clinic inspections and a fix that Greitens says would stop abortion providers from interfering with emergency responses when women are experiencing abortion complications.

“They can’t, for example, tell an ambulance that they need to go the slow way without using lights and sirens. They can’t tell an ambulance that they need to come to the back door when they’ve got somebody who is clearly in need,” says Greitens.

M’Evie Mead of Planned Parenthood says Greitens is playing politics.

“What I think Governor Greitens appears to be doing is making up solutions in search of a problem that doesn’t exist,” says Mead.

The governor also wants to require providers to report complications that women have from abortions.

“Court after court, informed by major medical associations who are responsible for doctors and nurses and healthcare providers maximizing people’s health across this country and in this state, have repeatedly proven that these politically-motivated restrictions that interfere with access to abortion and healthcare are dangerous to women’s health,” says Mead. “That’s what people need to know. At the center of this issue that’s being very politicized are people and their health outcome.”

In campaign-style fashion, Greitens will hold pro-life rallies on Friday in the Republican strongholds of Joplin, Springfield and St. Charles before Monday’s start of the special session. A high profile name will be alongside him at the Joplin and Springfield rallies. Former Arkansas Governor and Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee will be there to support Greitens’ cause.

Friday rally details:
University Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in Springfield at 11:30 a.m.
Butcher’s Block Event Center in Joplin at 2 p.m.
Heart Event Center in St. Charles at 6 p.m.