(Reuters) - Missouri’s Republican governor on Wednesday said he will convene a special legislative session next week to consider new abortion regulations and counter a local St. Louis law he said made it an “abortion sanctuary city.”
The session, set to start on Monday, will seek stricter regulations on abortion clinics, including requiring annual inspections and that clinics adopt plans for potential medical complications, Governor Eric Greitens said in a statement.
That came in response to a federal judge’s ruling in April that blocked requirements for clinics to meet standards for surgical centers and for doctors to have hospital privileges.
Greitens said he also wants to target an ordinance approved by St. Louis aldermen in February banning employers and landlords from discriminating against women who have had an abortion, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper.
The Missouri legislative session ended in May without approving a proposal to nullify the ordinance, which critics said would force groups that oppose abortion to sanction it and could threaten the work of anti-abortion pregnancy resource centers.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis in late May sued to overturn the ordinance.
“Politicians are trying to make it illegal, for example, for pro-life organizations to say that they just want to hire pro-life Missourians,” Greitens said in a statement.
Allison Dreith, executive director of the abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, denounced the governor’s move.
“Make no mistake about it. The intent behind the governor’s actions is to shame women for their personal medical decisions and make basic reproductive health care harder to access,” she said in a statement.
Reporting by Chris Kenning; Editing by Jonathan Oatis