Members of the Kansas City, Missouri City Council last week passed an ordinance that could help city employees cover travel expenses for out-of-state abortions after the procedure is largely illegal in Missouri.
But the Republican attorney general soon made it clear that this was not acceptable to him.
“Working families are struggling to pay for gas and groceries,” said Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who is also currently running for a seat in the US Senate in a July 1 tweet, a day after the Kansas City Council approved the legislation. “They spend their hard-earned money on taxes and now the ‘leaders’ of St. Louis and KC want to spend that hard-earned tax money on abortions. No way. Any attempt to do so by Missouri cities or counties will be met with a lawsuit.”
In a tweet later that same day, Schmitt referenced Quinton Lucas, the 37-year-old mayor of Kansas City and an abortion rights advocate. Smith wrote that Mayor Q™️, in “his never-ending and embarrassing quest to be a mayor of national importance and to bolster his progressive credibility, not only wants to deprive the police and public safety of taxpayers’ money, but now wants taxpayers to have abortions finance.”
However, the resolution specifically states that funding for travel abroad does not come from taxpayers’ money or the city’s general fund, according to KCUR. the local NPR affiliate. In fact, the resolution doesn’t even mention abortion, although it intends to compensate city employees and family members who have to leave Missouri for health care. Lucas said the resolution was drafted in a way that “legal challenge is not welcome,” he said Kansas City Star.
Lucas’ office did not immediately respond to a MarketWatch request for comment on out-of-state travel funding.
“Using hard-earned taxpayer money, whether it be ARPA money or other revenue streams, to fund nonsensical threats and baseless lawsuits violates the Attorney General’s ethical obligations as a Missouri attorney,” Lucas said in a statement responding to Schmitt’s threats US Bailout Act of 2021. He added that the city will continue to “commit to the freedom of Missouri women and families.”
It’s worth noting that Kansas City residents might not need to travel as far for the procedure: There are two clinics that perform abortions in nearby Overland Park, Kansas, and access to abortions is still regulated by the Kansas Constitution protected. But those abortion protections could be reversed if voters adopt a constitutional amendment in August that would override 2019 Kansas Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing the right of Kansas residents to have an abortion. If that ruling is overturned, the state’s Republican-controlled legislature could enact severe restrictions on access to abortions.
St. Louis County, which also shares a border with a state that still allows abortion — Illinois — is considering a similar move to allocate at least $1 million in federal America’s Rescue Plan funds to cover abortion-related travel expenses Public Radio St. Louis. The procedure itself would not be funded, but the measure would extend beyond government employees, according to the Kansas City Star.
Smith also threatened the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County are facing legal battles when they “attempt to authorize taxpayer-funded abortions.”
Missouri was among 13 states with so-called trigger bans that would quickly limit access to abortions after Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision, had been overturned. Shortly after the Supreme Court ruling last month, Missouri – who had steadily curtailed abortion rights for years – quickly blocked all abortions except in medical emergencieswith no exceptions for incest or rape.
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/no-way-missouri-attorney-general-threatens-to-sue-cities-that-help-cover-out-of-state-abortion-travel-11657043416?rss=1&siteid=rss Missouri AG is threatening to sue cities that help cover out-of-state abortion travel