A federal judge struck down a city ordinance proclaiming the city of St. Louis a “sanctuary city” for abortion which would have forced pro-life activists to employ abortion activists in their organizations.
Judge Audrey Fleissig ruled that the city could not restrict pro-life speech in that way.
“The City has failed to meet its burden to prove that the Ordinance is essential to further a compelling governmental interest and is not unduly restrictive,” the judge wrote.
According to the Washington Free Beacon:
Judge Audrey Fleissig ruled that the city could not compel religious organizations, pro-life nonprofits, and employers to hire abortion proponents, rent property to abortion clinics, or cover abortions in health plans—a requirement brought about when Democratic mayor Lyda Krewson attempted to add “reproductive health decisions” to the city’s nondiscrimination policy in 2017. Fleissig, who was appointed by President Obama at Democratic senator Claire McCaskill’s recommendation, said that ordinance violated Missouri’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act and federal law. The decision stopped short of calling the rule unconstitutional but renders enforcement nearly impossible.
The Free Beacon went on:
Our Lady’s Inn, a pro-life pregnancy center that supports low-income pregnant women, and the city’s Catholic schools filed the suit claiming the city policy would force it to violate its freedom of conscience. A Catholic businessman also joined the suit, arguing that the policy would force him to pay for abortion and contraceptives against his beliefs. Judge Fleissig ruled that the ordinance impeded the freedom of expression and association for the charity and religious schools.
“The forced inclusion of individuals who do not share Our Lady’s Inn’s commitment against abortion would significantly affect the ability of Our Lady’s Inn to advocate for its services and encourage women to forgo abortion,” the ruling says. “The forced inclusion of teachers or other staff who do not adhere to those values would significantly affect the Archdiocesan Elementary Schools’ ability to advocate their viewpoints, through its teachers and staff, to their students.”
This was just another attempt by a left-wing city government to hamper pro-life organizations while giving aide and support to abortion pushers.
As Free Beacon noted:
St. Louis’s ordinance was the latest attempt by abortion supporters to use the government to target pro-life organizations. In June, the Supreme Court struck down a California law that forced pro-life pregnancy centers to post information directing clients to abortions. Terry Schilling, executive director of the American Principles Project, said the St. Louis decision was another major win for religious groups and the freedom of speech.
“The courts have once again recognized these attempts to force pro-lifers to act against their consciences for what they are—an unlawful power grab by authoritarian leftists,” he said. “This law blatantly violated the First Amendment, and the court made the correct decision in siding with liberty instead of tyranny.”
Fortunately, the federal court saw the left-wing city council’s scheme and put the kibosh on it.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.
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