St. Louis, Mo., Oct 5, 2018 / 13:58 pm America/Denver (CNA).
A federal judge ruled Sept. 30 that a St. Louis ordinance banning discrimination based on reproductive health decisions violates both the U.S. Constitution and Missouri law.
The St. Louis ordinance, enacted in Feb. 2017, barred pro-life organizations from refusing to hire abortion proponents and rent to abortion clinics, and required non-religious employers to cover or pay for abortions through their employee health plans, according to a news release from the Chicago-based Thomas More Society.
“The St. Louis Board of Aldermen has now been made aware that it is unconstitutional to require pro-life organizations to hire or rent property to abortion proponents, and that it is illegal to require pro-life employers to include abortion coverage in their employee health plans,” Sarah Pitlyk, Thomas More Society Special Counsel, said in the statement.
Attorneys from the Thomas More Society represented several Catholic entities and the Catholic CEO of a for-profit company in a lawsuit against the City of St. Louis, filed during May 2017.
Judge Audrey Fleissig of the Eastern District of Missouri wrote that the ordinance violated the First Amendment rights of Our Lady’s Inn—a pro-life pregnancy center—and the Archdiocesan elementary schools of St. Louis by forcing them “to employ or house individuals who advocate for or perform abortions.”